would it were true

Discussion in 'English Only' started by andersxman, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. andersxman Senior Member

    I've overheard an english native speaker say "would it were true" today, and was sort of confused byt this. What does it mean? I believe I've heard "would it be so" as well...
  2. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    It's a little shorter version than what I'm used to:
    Would that it were true.

    Translation to modern English: I wish that it were true.
  3. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    It's an archaic way of forming the subjunctive, that I guess is still used every now and then.

    Would it were true = if (only) it were true
  4. 'Would it were true' or 'would that it were true' was widely used in 19th century speech and literature - mostly in a romantic way.

    A 'would that it were' type of phrase is used in this extract from a poem, 'Lucinda', by Arthur Griffith.

    ''Oh! Lucinda!
    My beaming, gleaming star,
    I would that I were good enough
    To dwell in dear Rathgar.''


    Edit: 'Would it be so' - This is unfamiliar to me. I can understand 'would that it were so'.
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    "The subjunctive is alive and is routinely taught in all UK schools."
    Would that it were so:)
    Yours archaically and (if LRV is right) romantically,

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