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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2011-02-24 20:43:18

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2601

behave << behoove

One of the stranger entries in our database is be-who-of in place of behoove. I vacillate between thinking it’s a really clever eggcorn and thinking it is no eggcorn at all. A younger Pat called the switch “weird” and “astonishing” and it hasn’t gotten any less weird or astonishing in the five years since he made that comment. People have continued to substitute “be who of” for “behoove,” even though our Eggcorn database entry pops up first in a Google search for “be who of” to flag writers away from the cliff.

A more pedestrian transformation of “it behooves [me/us/her/him/them]” is the switch to “it behaves [me/us/her/him/them].” “Behave” for “behoove” is not common (for that matter, “behoove/behove”1 itself is not terribly common in modern English dialects), but the “behave” slip does occur at least a dozen times on the web.

Many of the web examples, including two of the three below, are from the Indian subcontinent.

From the writings of Gandhi: “So, it behaves us who have faith in the unity and sanctity of life to be as sensitive, if not more, to the sufferings of men as we profess to be to the sufferings of other animals.”

Psychological disorders web site: “It behaves us to develop the skills and assets to deal with rejection successfully.”

Book review on a Sri Lanka site: “It behaves them to understand that prestigious institutions do not become prestigious due to the seniority of its members, or the number of exams or titles their staff possess, but by dedication, innovation and achievement by them in their fields of expertise. ”

1 In American English the spelling “behoove” overtook “behove” in the middle of the nineteenth century. British English is starting to come round.

Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.



#2 2011-02-24 22:19:17

From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2154

Re: behave << behoove

These be-Verb verbs are weird. I know we discussed somewhere on this forum the I am being have structures. Ah, yes .

Some other deformations of behoove:

[in prayer] Lord, we behoove you to hear us

It would behoove speakers if they would pay attention to this

The second one was by a well-known (and very articulate) PhD who specializes in psychology and psycholinguistics. fwiw.

He acquired no information that could behoove him financially.

I’m completely behooved [= confused]

It boheeves [boˈhivz] us to … [spoken, not written]

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2011-02-24 22:38:10)

*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)



#3 2011-02-24 23:06:07

David Bird
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1561

Re: behave << behoove

Behoove is a conjugation of “behoof”, but there are no hooves on that behoof, it being more closely related to heave.

The South Asian dynamic, and future, is an Indo-centric one. It behoofs us not to over-look that fact.
Chauvinist web comment

It would behoof us to believe that those that are more intelligent than others in a given population, will over time find the ways and means neccessary in order to pass on their genetic material to future generations.
Evolution of intelligence

David, your first example is evidently looking for the word beseech. That one can be misconstrued as well, making it an even more forceful request.

We besiege you to pay attention to this question during your negotiations
Cold War historical archives

Edit: I shoulda known that the besiege would be in the database.

Last edited by David Bird (2011-02-24 23:08:22)



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