Is the phrase "are you come" in this sentence correct?


A man made big noise to rouse a Giant and the Giant rushed from his cave, crying:

" You incorrigible villain, are you come here to disturb my rest?"

This is from English Fairy Tales.

I wonder if "are you come" is correct because I learned " Do you come" or " Are you coming" are correct. Could you teach me?

Yuuichi Tam

Posted 2016-08-18T18:37:51.510

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It's "correct" but outdated. You'd be hard pressed to find someone using it in modern English.

The modern equivalent would be "have you come here".

In this example, the Giant is asking the man why he's come to the Giant's home.


Posted 2016-08-18T18:37:51.510

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I wish it could be more helpful... I wasn't able to find any similar examples and it's difficult to prove that it's not used any more... hopefully someone will be able to give a better idea... or if you really want to understand the old usage and why it's not used any more, I'm sure it's something you could ask about on ELU. – Catija – 2016-08-18T19:07:55.417

2@Catija - For what it's worth, you'd also be hard-pressed to find anyone saying "incorrigible villain" nowadays, too. – J.R. – 2016-08-18T20:22:26.840

1I am so characterized, daily, by my offspring. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica – 2016-08-18T22:00:21.343

The phrase "Are they come yet?" appears in the dramatic works of Francis Beaumont (1584 – 6 March 1616). Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine (1821) quotes the line Is he come yet ? Lord, what a long night 'tis ! in a LitCrit piece on the old English comedies entitled Eastward Hoe. The English translation of the Greek scriptures has are you come here to torment us before the time? – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica – 2016-08-18T22:07:50.097

@Catija This seems to have been an exclusively literary/dramatic device even in Elizabethan times. I can't imagine a fishmonger along the Thames in 1530 saying to a thief: "Are you come to filch a flounder?" – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica – 2016-08-18T22:24:26.303

@P.E.Dant Not so; you will find BE perfects with verbs designating change of state or location in conversational prose right down to Sheridan and Goldsmith and even Austen. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2016-08-19T00:59:07.157

@StoneyB Does this indicate that the usage was common among the plebs, though? I do see it written in this way by Austen et al, but would my fishmonger really have spoken so? – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica – 2016-08-19T01:07:24.910

@P.E.Dant I don't know about fishmongers, but Peter Quince asks anxiously "Have you sent to Bottom's house? is he come home yet?" And Petruchio's servant Grumio introduces his colleagues "Yet, as they are, here are they come to meet you." – StoneyB on hiatus – 2016-08-19T01:22:32.887

Well, that's exactly what I mean. I'd always assumed such speech in the Bard to be idealized, written without any desire for verisimilitude. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica – 2016-08-19T01:39:34.877

@P.E.Dant Of course we have no record of what people actually said beyond what the playwrights and novelists have given us. But a little practice gives a pretty good sense of what register they're working in and how true an ear they've got; and Shakespeare's ear seems to me as sound as any that's ever graced our language. I think any actor will tell you the same thing. – StoneyB on hiatus – 2016-08-19T01:57:36.673

The chat nag cometh. As an erstwhile stage mgr. of WPA, I am the last guy who would gainsay any of that. Without him our tongue would be dull as a dishrag. But I've always assumed that he drew an idealized wordscape, putting "Yet, as they are, here are they come to meet you" in Grumio's yap when his counterpart in life would have said "Gor, if they aint 'ere!" I do admit I'd prefer to imagine my fishmonger speaking as the Bard might have presented him, though. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica – 2016-08-19T02:17:16.040


"Have you come" / "are you come" are present perfect construction, in question form. Early Modern English used forms of "to have" (have/has) and "to be" (am/is/are) as the auxiliary verb, possibly with a distinction of meaning between the choices. But using "to be" has gone out of style. It crops up in old literature, or new literature trying to sound old.

Old German has ties to Old English. In modern German, most verbs use a form of "haben" ("to have") (habe/hast/hat) to make present-perfect, but a few use "sein" ("to be") (bin/bist/ist/sind/seid).

The Wikipedia article on present perfect gives several examples using "to be" that are not in question form.

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." –Jesus

(Matthew 5:17, KJV)


Posted 2016-08-18T18:37:51.510

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