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#23086 - 03/16/01 09:30 AM On a slightly different note...
zephyr_ Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/16/01
Posts: 1
Do you know what is the only verb in the French language to not have a past tense (or so I am told)?
The verb "to guillotine".
You can see I will be guillotined, I am being guillotined, but you cannot see I was guillotined.


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#23087 - 11/22/01 10:22 AM Re: On a slightly different note...
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
I have no earthly idea of any truth in the above observation by zephyr, but I can imagine a French ghost saying that she was guillotined...

WW


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#23088 - 11/22/01 11:50 AM Re: On a slightly different note (d'oh!)...
Faldage Offline
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Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
They were guillotined!


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#23089 - 11/22/01 12:23 PM Re: On a slightly different note (d'oh!)...
Wordwind Offline
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Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
Just curious (as usual ad infinitum), when is the subjunctive necessary:

"I could imagine a French ghost saying she was guillotined"
or "I could imagine a French ghost saying she were guillotined"?

"I can imagine a French ghost saying she was guillotined"
or "I can imagine a French ghost saying she were guillotined..."

And, to complicate matters a bit further, should all of the above have at least, "I can imagine a French ghost's saying..." blah, blah, blah. I think that apostrophe is probably a better form...

Best regards,
WW


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#23090 - 11/22/01 12:53 PM Re: On a slightly different note (d'oh!)...
wwh Offline
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
It seems to me that the original post erred in saying "see" when "say" would make the joke. I have heard that a few persons promised to try to indicate their brain was still working after being separated from the neck. I think it was Lafayette who was said to have blinked right eye only a couple times. But he could not have said " I have been guillotined" .


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#23091 - 11/22/01 04:08 PM Re: On a slightly different note (d'oh!)...
Wordwind Offline
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Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
"I have a very little neck..." Anne of the Thousand Days...

It's documented somewhere exactly what she said. Hers is such a poignant tale, her personage brilliantly played by Geneviève Bujold... Edit: Grave error--Anne was beheaded; not guillotined. I need to make that correction here!

Still wondering about the subjunctive case?/mood?
WW


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#23092 - 11/23/01 06:09 PM Re: On a slightly different note (d'oh!)...
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
Still wondering about the subjunctive case?/mood?

Mood.

And it is a little out of our internal grammar these days, but I don't think that the subjunctive mood is called for in this instance, or if so, it would come out something like, "I can imagine a French ghost saying that she had been guillotined." And as far as the original complaint (joke or no) I'll probably shock all of you by saying that I was guillotined. There, I've done it. It's not impossible.


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#23093 - 11/23/01 06:53 PM Re: On a slightly different note (d'oh!)...
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
" I was guillotined"


Dear Faldage: I think it possible that your misadventure involved "an instrument, working on a similar principle, as for cutting paper."


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#23094 - 11/23/01 07:17 PM Re: On a slightly different note (d'oh!)...
Faldage Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
an instrument, working on a similar principle, as for cutting paper

Nope. I was lying, plain and simple. Didn't stop me from saying it, though. In Latin there was such a thang as a defective verb. A defective verb lacked some of the standard forms. The onliest one I can think of is futuo, futuere, but I don't remember where it's defective and it might just be from lack of observed usage. It's not like it was a real literary word.


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#23095 - 11/23/01 07:21 PM Re: On a slightly different note (d'oh!)...
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
Thank you, Faldage, for setting the mood.

So sorry you were guillotined. My "Four White Horses" thread was also guillotined, so I feel your pain.

Wishing you a speedy recovery,
DubDub


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