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I was listening to a podcast when I heard IF YOU DON'T BE QUIET, I'LL ...

Is it grammatically correct to use BE with an auxiliary (a helping verb) DO in negatives?

Hopefully it's impossible to say DO YOU BE ... ?

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It is possible in imperatives only: Don't be a fool!

CB

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Yes, it's fine.

Note that "be" is almost always an auxiliary verb, but here it is a lexical verb.

Your example conveys that you should be quiet (in order to ...).

It bears some resemblance to the imperative, but syntactically it is quite distinct from the imperative construction.

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Comments  

Yes, sure. Don't be ... is correct.


An American I asked said "Yes, it’s common! It makes it sound like right now rather than being quiet in general."


But I teach grammar and has never heard or seen this (IF YOU DON'T BE ... ) before.

 BillJ's reply was promoted to an answer.
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BillJ

Yes, it's fine.

Note that "be" is almost always an auxiliary verb, but here it is a lexical verb.

Your example conveys that you should be quiet (in order to ...).

It bears some resemblance to the imperative, but syntactically it is quite distinct from the imperative construction.

Thank you. It really helped. Teaching others I understand more and more that we need to be very careful with words ALWAYS and NEVER.

If you don't be quiet I'll give you a slap.

Your original example is fine, as are these:

If you don't be quick you'll lose.

If he doesn't be quick he'll miss the bus.


But non-negatives are marginal, or even ungrammatical for some:

%If you be quick you'll win.

?Why do you be so intolerant?

It made me think that the examples above are similar to the following ones:


4 DO is used to make a statement stronger (www.learnersdictionary.com, verb DO)

  • You really do look lovely today!
  • “It hurts!” “Well, I did warn you it would sting a little!”
  • I never did like him much.
  • Oh, do be quiet!
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