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Thread: I am gone, I am come ['To be' with past participle]

  1. #1
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    I am gone, I am come ['To be' with past participle]

    I have long thought:

    1. that to be + past participle is a passive form.
    2. that only transitive verbs can have passive forms.
    3. that to go and to come are intransitive verbs.

    Yet:
    After he is gone

    May 10th 2007
    From The Economist print edition
    Life after Tony Blair will have some surprises


    'They are come to visit us at Christmas, out of the world where all live to God; and to tell you some of their old fairy tales, which they loved when they were young like you.'
    From Heroes, Charles Kingsley.

    We come across such examples all the time. What form of the verb is it?

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    Re: I am gone

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Tompion View Post
    I have long thought:

    1. that to be + past participle is a passive form.
    2. that only transitive verbs can have passive forms.
    3. that to go and to come are intransitive verbs.

    Yet:
    After he is gone

    May 10th 2007
    From The Economist print edition
    Life after Tony Blair will have some surprises


    'They are come to visit us at Christmas, out of the world where all live to God; and to tell you some of their old fairy tales, which they loved when they were young like you.'
    From Heroes, Charles Kingsley.

    We come across such examples all the time. What form of the verb is it?

    Hi Thomas,

    Your examples are formed by adding the past participle to the present tense and thus are in the present perfect tense.

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    Re: I am gone

    Good evening Thomas,


    I think that this is about using these forms as adjectives.
    These are normally used as past participles to form either perfect tenses or passive voice, but in your examples they are used as adjectives. Past participle is employed in this function quite often.

    Let's have a look at I'm finished which is of the kind of the expressions you provided.
    I have finished. -- present perfect, nothing strange in it.
    I am finished. -- present simple, finished acts as an adjective here, compare My marriage is finished.

    He has gone. --present perfect
    He is gone. -- present simple, gone can have a few meaning here, click.



    Tom

    PS: go and come are also transitive verbs.
    Last edited by Thomas1; 18th June 2007 at 12:56 AM. Reason: typo
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    Re: I am gone

    I believe that "to go" and "to come" used to be conjugated with "to be" rather than "to have", so perhaps the occasional use like that is just a throwback to that time.
    ‘If a chap can’t compose an epic poem while he is weaving a tapestry, he had better shut up.' William Morris.

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    Re: I am gone

    Quote Originally Posted by timpeac View Post
    I believe that "to go" and "to come" used to be conjugated with "to be" rather than "to have", so perhaps the occasional use like that is just a throwback to that time.
    I agree with that, timpeac. I was thinking of the French passé composé for "he is gone", "they are come".

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    Re: I am gone

    "He is risen" the "the Lord is risen" is also heard in the Easter celebration, so there's another one to add to the throwbacks.

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    Re: I am gone

    I still wonder if it's correct to say"He is gone" or shuld it be "He's gone"?

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    Re: I am gone

    Quote Originally Posted by timpeac View Post
    I believe that "to go" and "to come" used to be conjugated with "to be" rather than "to have", so perhaps the occasional use like that is just a throwback to that time.
    That's very interesting timpeac. Do you have any evidence for it? We find both forms in Shakespeare; for instance, here's the start of sonnet 110:

    Alas! 'tis true, I have gone here and there,
    And made my self a motley to the view,
    Gor'd mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear,
    Made old offences of affections new;


    Here's Cleopatra dragging Antony up to the monument:

    But come, come Antony, --
    Help me, my women,--we must draw thee up:
    Assist, good friends.

    ANTONY


    O, quick, or I am gone.

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    Re: I am gone

    Hi,

    I learned that these expressions (i.e., "I'm gone", "I'm finished"...) are idiomatic. In these examples, the past participle has turned into an adjective, that's why you can use the verb "to be".

    Please, tell me if you think I'm talking nonsense...

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    Re: I am gone

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Tompion View Post
    That's very interesting timpeac. Do you have any evidence for it?
    No, I'm afraid not (which is why I was stressing the "believe") - I have just noted the usage now and again, as you have done there in Shakespeare. He was writing at a time of some flux in English, so I suppose the question is whether he is adding a different nuance depending on whether he uses "have gone" or "am gone", or whether it is a purely stylistic choice with little real difference in meaning - and I don't know the answer to that.
    ‘If a chap can’t compose an epic poem while he is weaving a tapestry, he had better shut up.' William Morris.

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    Re: I am gone

    While I have the British National Corpus in mind, here are some counts:
    ... have gone - 2659
    ... am gone - 13
    ... are gone - 128
    ... is gone - 184

    ... have come - 2797

    ... am come - 5
    ... are come - 18
    ... is come - 35

    There is a generally dusty feel about the examples given.

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    Re: I am gone

    Quote Originally Posted by panjandrum View Post
    There is a generally dusty feel about the examples given.
    Even the Economist one from May 10th, 2007, Panj?

    Do you think it's a deliberate archeism?

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    Re: I am gone

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Tompion View Post
    Even the Economist one from May 10th, 2007, Panj?

    Do you think it's a deliberate archeism?
    Now that I stare fixedly at the Economist example, I worry about it - not a lot, you know, just a little.

    It's the use of after that bothers me. When he is gone wouldn't bother me, but for some reason I cringe slightly (now) at after he is gone. I think it's because gone in he is gone feels very like an adjective, and after he goes he will always be gone, so after he is gone doesn't make sense (and this sentence might not either).

    (Thought provoked by posts above from Thomas1 and Rivendell.)

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    Re: I am gone

    Quote Originally Posted by panjandrum View Post
    Now that I stare fixedly at the Economist example, I worry about it - not a lot, you know, just a little.

    It's the use of after that bothers me. When he is gone wouldn't bother me, but for some reason I cringe slightly (now) at after he is gone. I think it's because gone in he is gone feels very like an adjective, and after he goes he will always be gone, so after he is gone doesn't make sense (and this sentence might not either).

    (Thought provoked by posts above from Thomas1 and Rivendell.)
    I think I see what you are saying. To draw another example, you would prefer "after he has died" to "after he is dead", but would see little to pick between "when he is dead" and "when he has died"?
    ‘If a chap can’t compose an epic poem while he is weaving a tapestry, he had better shut up.' William Morris.

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    Re: I am gone

    I have been pondering over this phenomenon and come up with some questions:

    Are the following aceptable to you:
    The sun was not yet risen.
    When he got up the sun was well risen.
    Kim is gone for five months
    I'm so done?=I'm so tired???
    He was come a few minutes ago.
    They were finished yesterday.
    I am also thinking whether be is an auxiliary here and am wondering if you would use any other copula than be with the mentioned so far forms.

    ***
    Would you say:
    He is gone to the store?
    They are done the homework. (Personally, I wouldn't use this one, and am unsure about the first one)

    ***
    I think that there can be a grain of truth in what timepac and The Scrivener have written. IMHO it is very much probable that a few centuries ago have and be were/could be used as auxiliaries of perfect tense. It can also be the case that it is both a relict of perfect and an indicator of a copula (since how to interpret I'm so done?).



    Tom
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    Re: I am gone

    Ok, my feelings on the various sentences in colour below (sorry can't be bothered to cut and paste all the quotes otherwise!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas1 View Post
    I have been pondering over this phenomenon and come up with some questions:

    Are the following aceptable to you:
    The sun was not yet risen.Ok, but rather poetic for "the sun had not yet risen".
    When he got up the sun was well risen.Fine, you could not replace this by the perfect since it is a state.
    Kim is gone for five monthsI find this strange and would say "has gone" usually. Is the confusion due to the fact that in speech we would normally say "Kim's gone..." which is potentially ambiguous?
    I'm so done?=I'm so tired???For me for it to equal "so tired" it would have to be "done in", "I'm so done" for me means "I can't be dealing with you gits any more". All that aside it sounds fine.
    He was come a few minutes ago.Very strange.
    They were finished yesterday.Absolutely fine - the passive. The pictures were finished last August.
    I am also thinking whether be is an auxiliary here and am wondering if you would use any other copula than be with the mentioned so far forms.

    ***
    Would you say:
    He is gone to the store?Never.
    They are done the homework. (Personally, I wouldn't use this one, and am unsure about the first one)Absolutely not - I'm not sure where you're going with this - why do you think this is ok?

    ***
    I think that there can be a grain of truth in what timepac and The Scrivener have written. IMHO it is very much probable that a few centuries ago have and be were/could be used as auxiliaries of perfect tense. It can also be the case that it is both a relict of perfect and an indicator of a copula (since how to interpret I'm so done?).



    Tom
    I'm so done with all these questions!
    ‘If a chap can’t compose an epic poem while he is weaving a tapestry, he had better shut up.' William Morris.

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    Re: I am gone

    And, since I'm sitting in Atlanta, Georgia, at the moment, I can only think of the American classic novel: Gone with the Wind
    Last edited by sdgraham; 19th June 2007 at 12:45 AM. Reason: capitalization

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    Re: I am gone

    Quote Originally Posted by sdgraham View Post
    And, since I'm sitting in Atlanta, Georgia, at the moment, I can only think of the American classic novel: Gone with the Wind
    And for us poor Brits, or at least this poor Brit, what do you mean??
    ‘If a chap can’t compose an epic poem while he is weaving a tapestry, he had better shut up.' William Morris.

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    Re: I am gone

    Quote Originally Posted by timpeac View Post
    And for us poor Brits, or at least this poor Brit, what do you mean??
    Sorry. Gone with the wind is an American classic novel of by Margaret Mitchell who wrote the novel in Atlanta and it is set in Atlanta, Georgia, the heart of the American South.

    The pertinence here is that the subject of the sentence is understood (way of life or the character, Tara) is gone (with the wind.)

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    Re: I am gone

    She has a new boyfriend; I am afraid I'm history.

    Effectively "I'm history" is the same as "I am gone".

    "I'm history" sounds entirely natural to me.

    I think "I am gone" sounds a bit strange; but "I'm gone" does not.

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