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.
Recommended For You
Subscribe to Receive our Articles and Exercises via Email
- You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed!
- Subscribers get access to our exercise archives, writing courses, writing jobs and much more!
- You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free!
4 Responses to “Sobeit and So Be It”
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.
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.”
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.
Thank you, Maeve. That last example, Sobeit as a noun, gave me a good laugh. I love it!