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Whether we like it or not, we mold ourselves to what society would have us.

I don't understand what the society would have us.

What is this structure? I've never come across this usage of have.

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    I think it's just an elided "be" at the end. It looks strange to me too. – Tyler James Young Jan 9 '14 at 20:30
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    Where did this example come from? It looks to me more like a translation than something a native speaker would say (apart from the missing be/do at the end, I think the article in the society is rather unlikely). – FumbleFingers Jan 9 '14 at 22:04
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The sentence just omitted an implied verb at the end.

Whether we like it or not, we mold ourselves to what the society would have us do.

Whether we like it or not, we mold ourselves to what the society would have us be.

  • I think your answer is right... but no native speaker would omit the final verb... – virmaior Jan 26 '14 at 14:35
  • What @virmaior said. I think it's misleading to say there's an implied verb at the end, since that strongly suggests native speakers might use the form. The sentence didn't "just" omit an optional component - it's totally unacceptable to all native speakers. – FumbleFingers Feb 18 '14 at 17:57
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Had the writer said '...we mould ourselves to the way the society would have us', the expression would have been complete in itself.

Perhaps that's what they meant to say.

But I am thinking that if that is the case, and 'the way the society would have us' is a valid construction, then why not 'what the society would have us'?

It is also a profound and interesting thought.

As Fumble Fingers suggests it might be interesting to know more about where it came from.

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I have to agree with the previous answers that state it is a profound and quite deep thought. As grammar is concerned, it does sound more of a translation than that of a native speaker. The addition to the "be" at the end does make more sense than the lack of it.

  • Actually this is from this. Unconsciously he molds himself to what she would have him, good or bad. – user41481 Jan 26 '14 at 11:32

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