behoove

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homotopy07

Senior Member
Japanese
(1) It would ill behoove her to take this situation lightly.

(2) It would behoove her not to take this situation lightly.

Question: Which is correct?
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Behove (AE: behoove) is a very rare word, which I suspect most young people will never even have heard of, let alone used. In modern English I think it really only remains in the idiom “it ill behoves [someone to do something]”. I suppose in a formal written work the word might still be used, but only in that sort of construction. Your example (2) reads very oddly, to say the least, and even (1) is highly unlikely.
     
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    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    I think we can say that your (1) and your (2) are both grammatically "correct"—and they are synonymous—
    but I agree with the above comments that "beho(o)ve" is an archaic word.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    You do hear it occasionally but not often in the U.S.

    Here's a search result page for the phrase "it would behoove you".

    "it would behoove you" - Google Search

    Several of the items are transcripts of legislative hearings in the U.S., i.e. fairly formal, serious occasions (from several decades ago).

    There are uses in books in those search results from the last ten years.

    Here's one humorous example (with some expletives):

    Now if there's nothing else you need it would behoove you to give me 50 feet." "Behoove! What the fuck does that mean?" "It means it would benefit you greatly to leave me alone." "Well bitch that's all you had to say instead [of] using some shit ...​
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's kind of a formal, polite way of being a bit aggressive. It's a bit patronizing. Those occasions don't come up that often, and when they do, there are many other ways to say the same thing.
     

    homotopy07

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    It's kind of a formal, polite way of being a bit aggressive. It's a bit patronizing. Those occasions don't come up that often, and when they do, there are many other ways to say the same thing.
    Thanks, kentix. :) Can I use the following sentence as a mild warning?

    It might be a good idea for you to take this situation a little more seriously.
     
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