Sobeit and So Be It
Could you do a feature on “so be it” and “sobeit?” I thought for sure it was always written as three words until a discussion on a court reporters’ message board came up about a proofreader saying that it should be a one-word word.
Sobeit is a word and so be it is a clause. Neither is much used in ordinary conversation or writing, but legal language tends to be on the old-fashioned side.
The clause so be it is a subjunctive expression meaning “let it be so.” Example:
Aladdin: I want a huge palace with a thousand servants and a swimming pool.
Genie: So be it!
Sobeit can be used as conjunction or as a noun.
As a conjunction sobeit means “provided that, if.” Example:
I will finish this 800-page novel, sobeit I live long enough.
Sobeit can also be used as a noun, as in this example from the OED:
Thou answerest me an houre after..like to a Sexton with a Sobeit or Amen.
Whether to spell it as one word or write it out as three words depends upon the context.
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4 Responses to “Sobeit and So Be It”
Thank you, Maeve. That last example, Sobeit as a noun, gave me a good laugh. I love it!
I’ve never seen ‘sobeit’ as a single word, but would’ve guessed that it comes from the same era as ‘albeit’.
Until, that is, dictionary.com suggested sobeit being from 1575 and albeit being from 1385. Both words – if the first page of google results are to be believed – would seem to be far more often defined than they are actually used.
Shirley, in Berkeley
Sobeit sounds like legal-speak to me. Working as a temp for a lawyer, I asked about their dropping the “e” from “therefore” and was told that it was legal usage: “therefor” meant “for that,” and with an “e” on the end, meant “hence.”
Hmmm, I would also have guessed a relationship, or at least meaning parallel with ‘albeit’. Then again, I’d never heard of ‘sobeit’ before today, so I guess I live and learn.