Verbless slogans - A new trend?

Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Fri Nov 30 23:31:20 UTC 2001

I'm puzzled why "Every time we play the Tigers. we are ready" can't
refer to an upcoming event.

'We ready' surely does mean right now, and can, of course, be
extended to mean tbne moment of play (as I indicated).


>I noticed that eight of thirteen players on last year's
>UCharleston team were African American, as well as the
>head coach.  If the ratio is close to that this year
>too, is it possible that the team knew what they meant
>by "we be ready"?
>Herb Stahlke
>>  From my own experience, I would suggest the following:
>>  "We be ready" wouldn't be appropriate when referring to future events (e.g.,
>>  plans for the whole year) since the statement indicates a general present
>>  habitual state, based on past [before the moment of speaking] occurrences
>>  (e.g.,  Whenever we have to play the Tigers, we be ready" [="Every time we
>>  play the Tigers, we are ready" or "Every time we played the Tigers, we were
>>  ready" or  "Every time we've played the Tigers, we have been ready."])  "We
>>  ready" (=We are ready) is the better choice since it indicates a present
>>  state of physical or mental preparedness for whatever happens in the near or
>>  distant future.  P-A-T

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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