Be a man ever so rich

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Senior Member
Korean - Korea
Q: I would like to know in the below sentences, the first and fourth sentence are normally used in written/formal and informal style or those are rarely used so it is desirable not to use those structures' sentences.

Be a man ever so rich, he should not idle.

= However rich a man may be, he should not idle.

Whether it be true or not, it is not worth considering.

= Be it true or not, it is not worth considering
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think I know the first structure from a single occurrence in a famous Shakespeare speech. In Henry V the King says:
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, ..

    (Here it is never (ne'er) so, not ever so.)

    The second structure is part of my passive vocabulary only.
    I smell the blood of an Englishman,
    Be he alive, or be he dead
    I'll grind his bones to make my bread.

    Fee-fi-fo-fum - Wikipedia
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - England
    It reminds me of the words of a famous song: “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home”. But that song is 200 years old, and it’s fair to say that the “be it …” construction is somewhat antiquated.
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