Discussion Forum

Please consider registering
guest

Log In Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —

  

— Match —

   

— Forum Options —

   

Minimum search word length is 4 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

Topic RSS
If I may/do say so myself
Which is correct, May or Do ?
Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
2014/04/03
1:55am
RobertB
Member
Forum Posts: 423
Member Since:
2012/02/20
Offline
1
0

It’s to show humility, or to soften a claim, like this:

My new wife looked like an absolute bombshell at the party, if I do say so myself.

 

But which is better, “do say” or “may say” ? Doesn’t “do” sound too strong, like you are arbitrating something ?

2014/04/03
2:15am
polistra
Member
Forum Posts: 35
Member Since:
2014/02/01
Offline
2
0

When I sort of roll both choices around in my mouth, I don’t detect any real difference in connotation.   The word DO tends to hold a bit more stress than MAY, which gives the DO-sentence more audible strength.   But I suspect this is just a natural phonetic thing, not a semantic thing.   The difference in verb form is pretty much forgotten in standard phrases like this.

2014/04/03
3:26am
Glenn
Admin
Forum Posts: 1618
Member Since:
2009/03/03
Offline

I use the do version. I can’t recall ever hearing it with may. Either way I would treat this as a fixed phrase or idiom. Avoid parsing it out. It is neither asking permission nor posing any hypothetical. The elements have lost their individual grammatical and semantic meanings under the weight of the phrase as a whole.

2014/04/03
7:29am
Dick
Fort Worth, TX
Member
Forum Posts: 398
Member Since:
2010/10/19
Offline
4
0

Like Glenn, I have never heard “may” used in this phrase with “myself.”   What I do occasionally hear is, “If I may say” then they make their statement.   These are times when someone is interjecting their opinion in a way that is a bit stronger than usual.   This idiom seems to be asking permission to say this thing but no one ever waits for that permission to be given.

2014/04/03
11:28pm
RobertB
Member
Forum Posts: 423
Member Since:
2012/02/20
Offline

Glenn said
The elements have lost their individual grammatical and semantic meanings under the weight of the phrase as a whole.

It’s a fixed thing, isn’t it, sort of like with “What do we got?”, the police at crime scene lingo.

The other one that Dick mentioned, “If I may say,” is more like “If I may be so bold…”

2014/04/04
3:45pm
Dick
Fort Worth, TX
Member
Forum Posts: 398
Member Since:
2010/10/19
Offline
6
0

RobertB said

The other one that Dick mentioned, “If I may say,” is more like “If I may be so bold…”

Exactly!   In fact, what is often heard is, “If I may be so bold to say.”

Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles

Most Users Ever Online: 1147

Currently Online: deaconB
3 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Top Posters:

Heimhenge: 792

Bob Bridges: 675

Ron Draney: 633

Robert: 439

RobertB: 423

tromboniator: 400

Dick: 398

samaphore: 312

deaconB: 297

dilettante: 287

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 608

Members: 2991

Moderators: 1

Admins: 5

Forum Stats:

Groups: 1

Forums: 1

Topics: 3172

Posts: 16815

Newest Members: Nancy, aerushing, Patzer, brienne77, McInbass, dsouthern36, tjintheville, jamiecordon, Uffda, LisaS

Administrators: Martha Barnette: 820, Grant Barrett: 1425, EmmettRedd: 653, Glenn: 1618, timfelten: 0