why is/ (are?) god plural

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  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s not a plural, it’s the bare infinitive, which is used to form an imperative — a command, in effect.
     

    Poni Travieso

    Member
    English - American
    It could also allude to the subjunctive mood if you think of it as being implicitly prefaced with "May God help us", since the present tense subjunctive is always just the bare root of the verb for every perspective.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'd call it a (present) subjunctive, rather than an imperative.

    But I agree that it's not plural:).

    ......
    Cross-posted
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    'God helps us', singular 3rd person simple present verb form, would be a statement of fact and belief, a truth, according to the speaker's personal convictions.
    'God/heaven help us/me/you/them!' is an intense imprecation which might be used by people who do not believe in any 'god' or 'heaven'. It's a common figure of speech.
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    It's more likely equal to "May God help us", rather than an imperative addressed to God,
    since we can also say (to a fellow human) "God help you".
     
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