Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Your patience on this matter behooves.

Is it okay to use the word "behooves" in this way?

share|improve this question
2  
-1 Is that really the complete sentence? Nothing can be said for sure without the context. Can you post the full paragraph? –  Kris Sep 30 '12 at 12:37
1  
Surprising what is the basis for up voting this question! –  Kris Sep 30 '12 at 12:38
    
@Kris - He has presented this as a complete sentence, and it is entirely conceivable that someone would write that. If they did then they should be fired last week, but the meaning is clear enough and it MAY even be technically correct. English. "When entering the property please do not drive across the grass, as the vehicles weight is liable to set off some of the landmines and damage the turf. Regrettably, staying on the tarmac will increase trip times by up to 3 minutes compared to taking a short cut across the lawns. Your patience on this matter behooves." –  Russell McMahon Sep 30 '12 at 13:02
1  
Strange - I've always come across this as "behoves" (British Eng speaker). It's an impersonal verb and as such its usage is "It beho(o)ves me/you/them/us [etc.] to..." –  Suke Sep 30 '12 at 13:32
4  
No. "Behoove" is a transitive verb in current-day usage. –  Peter Shor Sep 30 '12 at 17:11
show 3 more comments

2 Answers

Not really.
Technically, just maybe, perhaps.
But this would sound very stilted and artificial.

Usage is usually " ... it behooves 'person' ... " eg "it behooves me", it behooves the gathered assembly, "a manifestly repentant attitude behooves those who find themselves in the dock". While my brain can conceive that the person may be implied, actually omitting them would bring further attention to the artificiality of the sentence.

Behooves is exceedingly seldom used nowadays, I wot.
If used it is often used for effect or for humor or to "put on side".
I have never seen it used as seen here and if I ever met it in a formal document it would immediately tell me that these were not likely to be people that I'd be comfortable doing business with. It would be most liable to be used in a sales brochure or by a PR department by someone whose English language capabilities were overstretched.


Some examples of acceptable usage:

The secret to mastering patience

  • Such leaders want to make things happen. And they act for the good of the team. But along the way they have learned that too much action is really inaction. Never mistake activity for productivity. And so it behooves us to slow things down and control what we can control.

Indian in the machine - see second instance towards end of page.

  • Tempers flare as each person goes through their own cleansing process, not understanding what is occurring on their Planet and in the Cosmos. It behooves those who stand as Light Beacons to maintain peace and calm no matter how intense the reactions in those around you.

Child custody and support

  • The court will usually be strongly influenced by the wishes of the custodial parent on this matter, so it behooves the grandparents to try to reach an agreement with the parent beforehand, if possible.

Crisis in the church.

This is an excellent example of correct use of the word but in a manner which leads to flowery affectation. "Behooves" is used 3 times, correctly in each case, but adds to the already large amount of unnecessarily verbose and complex prose. [My adverse comment has nothing to do with the subject matter].

  • It particularly behooves us to be temperate in intellectual endeavors, for the Angelic Doctor expounds upon studiousness as the moral virtue which has knowledge as its proper matter

Care of the tongue
Two instances. Also overly flowery BUT written in 1881.

  • It behooves us, in places where this vice is more common, to be more careful in avoiding it. You have plenty to do with your own vices—find fault with these and correct them. Do not divulge your own secrets, or those of others which you are obliged to conceal.

Correcting incorrect information found on Family Search(IGI)

  • A film number usually follows that record from which it has been extracted and it behooves the researcher to see the film as there could be other relevant information that is not extracted.
share|improve this answer
    
You... wot?​​​​ –  Mr Lister Sep 30 '12 at 16:56
    
So is there any modern use of "behooves" that does not follow the specific form "It behooves person to infinitive"? –  Jander Sep 30 '12 at 17:37
    
@Jander - Perhaps eg "Those who it behooves should act accordingly". "There are a few who it behooves". It's getting pretty marginal :-) –  Russell McMahon Oct 1 '12 at 0:44
    
@MrLister - "You ...wot?" --> Indeed Sir, I do. wot from wit –  Russell McMahon Oct 1 '12 at 0:46
add comment

No, that use is not current. The OED relegates uses without a personal object to the status of archaic or even obsolete. Here are the relevant senses with a few of the citations:

b. without pers. obj.: It is proper or due. arch.

  • 1563 Shute Archit. D iiij b, ― Now it behoueth to make mention of an other order.
  • 1633 G. Herbert Agonie in Temple 29 ― Two··things, The which to measure it doth more behove.
  • 1876 Swinburne Erecth. 1452 ― Yet no pause behoves it make.

c. the thing incumbent expressed by a clause. arch.

  • 1533 Tindale Lord’s Supper 31 ― It behoveth, that the son of man must die.
  • 1547 Homilies i. Read. Script. ii. (1859) 15 ― It behooveth not, that such··should set aside reading.
  • 1647 W. Browne Polexander i. 126 ― It behooves, likewise, that you give some roome and place to those that speake to you.
  • 1860 Adler Fauriel’s Prov. Poetry xvii. 389 ― It well behooves that every faithful friend··should dread to disclose··his passion.

† d. the thing incumbent elliptically omitted. Obs.

  • 1644 Milton Areop. (Arb.) 54 ― If he be of such worth as behoovs him.

In modern use, one writes that “it behooves someone to do something”. That is the main current sense, which is in the OED given as sense a, before the other three senses listed above.

4. quasi-impers. (the subject being a clause). In early ME. without it, which is now ordinarily used.
a. with the thing incumbent expressed by an infinitive, and with personal object: It is incumbent upon or necessary for (a person) to do (something).

  • 1820 W. Irving Sketch Bk. II. 354 ― It behoved him to keep on good terms with his pupils.
  • 1855 H. Reed Lect. Eng. Lit. i. (1878) 28 ― What books does it behoove me to know?
  • 1952 M. McCarthy Groves of Academe (1953) iii. 40 ― It behooved him to tread warily with Domna.
  • 1955 Sci. Amer. Aug. 71/1 ― It behooves us to know as much as possible about this problem.
share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.