Re: 3d person imperative

Date: Sat Jun 01 1996 - 20:10:05 EDT

James Vallenga responded to Don Partain as follows:

>From Don Partain, in reference to another matter:
>> .... Since English does not use a third
>>person imperative, it's a bit awkward to translate the Greek
>> third person imperative into the English. We make a brave attempt by
>> "let", although "let" is actually 2nd person imperative.
>Although not widely recognized, there _is_ a third person imperative
>in English, namely, "have" as in
> "Have your secretary call me."
> "Have each of you be baptized ...."

I'm new to this list, and have read the posts of the past several days with
mixed interest. On this particular point, let (2nd person imperative, "you
understood") me suggest that the subject of the sentence, "Have your
secretary call me," is "You (understood)". The implied Subject and Verb
phrase is, "You have..."

I do not believe there is anything in the English language which strictly
(regarding syntax) parallels the Greek 3rd person imperative. In usage, "Let"
does fairly well, e.g., "Let the buyer beware."

Don, with regard to the point you were making regarding the singular, 3rd
person imperative, in Ac 2:38, I believe you are precisely correct. I believe
"emphasis" is the most natural explanation for the change from 2nd pers. pl.
to 3rd pers. sing. Lest anyone missed it, Don's comment was as follows:

>Hekastos (nominative case) is in apposition to the third person singular
>subject of baptisthetw. Thus, Peter is saying, "let (him)--that is, each of
>you (humwn)--be baptized... for the forgiveness of your (humwn) sins." So,
>even though baptisthetw is 3rd pers. sing., hekastos humwn makes it clear
>that it is simply a command given distributively to all the people Peter was
>addressing. It seems to me that the 3rd pers. sing. is used here to
>individual need to be baptized. In any case, the command to be baptized is
>connected with the purpose for being baptized: twn hamartiwn humwn.

Jeff Smelser

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