Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 10:37:42 EDT
From: Larry Horn LHORN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YALEVM.CIS.YALE.EDU
Subject: Re: Your mail
Julia Cochran writes:
On Thu, 23 Oct 1997 19:13:17 EDT Michael Montgomery said:
By the way, Ron, "Bless you" is not a prayer, the distinctive features
of the latter being that it is phrased in second person (often with a
vocative) and addressed directly to a deity. "Bless you" does not have
these characteristics, so far as I can discern.
You're right...it's subjunctive, with (ahem, the alleged) God in the third
person and "May" deleted but presumably, at one time, understood.
We can try the diagnostic thoughtfully provided by Quang Phuc Dong, in his
immortal article "English Sentences Without Overt Grammatical Subject", p. 6.
[_Studies Out in Left Field_: Defamatory Essays Presented to James D. McCawley
on the Occasion of his 33rd or 34th Birthday, Edmonton, 1971.] Quang cites the
to argue against the analysis in which God is the underlying subject of such
"verbs". By the same token, imagining oneself in Heaven in the presence of
the sneezing Lord. Does one say
or, more likely
If my intuitions are correct, God cannot be the subject of "bless", whether
the mood is subjunctive, imperative, or otherwise. It's clearly an empirical