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Smite is an interesting word for which I found a use today. However, my understanding of its conjugation is as follows:

  • I/you smite
  • He/she/it smites
  • We/you/they smite

And then "I was smitten (down/by)"; "I have been smitten"; "I smote my palm with my clenched fist" etc (last one courtesy of Wiktionary).

Smote is debatably interchangeable although 'smote' is the simple past and 'smitten' is the past participle. But for the following, should it be:

  • "With my argument, I fear I would be smote(d) down in court" or
  • "With my argument, I fear I would be smite(d) in court" or
  • "With my argument, I fear I would be smitten in court" or
  • "With my argument, I fear I would be smit in court"

Which is it?

Expanded meaning of the sentence: "(on the basis of) my argument, I fear I would (have a decision found against me) in court"

Furthermore, is this a case of 'auxiliary would', is this just the plain subjunctive form -- or does the example sentence actually fall into the category of an omitted and inferred 'ordinary past indicative' ('was' in this case, theoretically making the full sentence "If I was in court, I fear I would be smote/smoted/smite/smited/smitten/smit down")?

Apologies for the braintaxing archaic English question on a Friday!

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    You have already given the answer: smitten is the past participle. So I would be smitten. – Andrew Leach Jan 17 '14 at 16:36
  • That inspires a little confidence. So its form is that of a standard past participle sentence, it's not technically a more complex form? – Chris Woods Jan 17 '14 at 16:53
  • No: it's an ordinary sentence. "With that argument, you may well be laughed out of court." Simple past participle: substitute phoned or thrown or whatever. – Andrew Leach Jan 17 '14 at 17:09
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    Conjugations aside, I would not use ‘smitten’ in that way. The verb has taken on a more specific meaning in the passive voice, and saying that a person is smitten means that he is strongly attracted to something. “I fear I would be smitten in court” sounds like you’re afraid you’ll fall in love with the judge to me. Also, as an exact parallel to the conjugation of ‘smite’, consider write, wrote, written, where the alternative form ‘writ’ also exists (‘writ large’, for example). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 17 '14 at 17:14
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smite has smite, smote, smiting and smitten (some dictionaries also allow smit) No smited or smoted.

I'm afraid I don't recognize your sentence structure (I'm only a speaker.) You are on the possible receiving end of smote/smitten. I could not find it conjugated as in your sentence.

I tried strike/struck/stricken, which follows somewhat the same conjugation patterns. Still, I couldn't come to an understanding of your construction.

The only thing I could come up with was,

"With my argument, I fear I would be stricken in court"
With my argument, I fear I would be smitten in court.

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    I don't think one would use the verb 'strike' on its own here. I think it would be 'strike down'. Hence one might say 'I fear I would be struck down in court'. 'Stricken down' doesn't seem right. I know the James l Version of the Bible records the case of the woman 'well stricken in years'. But I think modern English has abandoned 'stricken' as a past participle. It is now, I believe 'struck'. Don't know about 'smitten'. – WS2 Jan 17 '14 at 21:52
  • An interesting answer, thanks -- I enclosed the (optional) "d"s in parantheses as I wasn't sure whether you'd say "smoted" or "smote". – Chris Woods Jan 21 '14 at 15:00

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