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  • Like it or not, . . . (Whether you like it or not)

I've come across this kind of phrase many times, but this is the only one--among no-subject subjunctives--that I can be sure it's common and right to use. So, I want to know how far it is allowed to use no-subject subjunctives and how common it is. By far, I mean, is it okay to use any verbs and any objectives instead of like and it to make such a subjunctive? And how commonly is it used in daily conversations?

My examples of the question one:

  • (Whether you) Went there or not, it's not my concern.
  • (Whether you) Be here or not, you should never break the oath.

Are these okay to use?

marked as duplicate by tchrist, Tushar Raj, Mr. Shiny and New 安宇, anongoodnurse, Mitch Jun 8 '15 at 23:39

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  • 1
    I don't think your examples sound very "natural" at all. There are other common examples of the construction (Stay or go, I really don't care), but I think it normally needs to be an overtly imperative utterance, which makes your past tense version particularly unidiomatic for most contexts. – FumbleFingers May 29 '15 at 15:41
  • Come rain or come shine, this is still a standard case of concessive disjunction, an old formula that takes inversion and the old present subjunctive that’s virtually unseen today outside of fixed phrases. – tchrist May 29 '15 at 20:03
  • Love 'em or hate 'em, there are more constructions of this form than you might think. – Sven Yargs Jun 2 '15 at 1:55

Consider "like it or not" as a fixed idiom. I would not advise to invent new idioms on your own. Your inventions make no sense. Actually "like it or not" is a formula used in very specific situations expressing that someone has to accept a truth that is unpleasant for him. And you can't invent such formulas bound to special situations as you like. Such formulas have a long history and it takes some time for developing such formulas and it takes time till they are generally accepted.

By the way there is no subjunctive in the elliptic formula "(whether you) like it or not" and the subject "you" is understood, even if the formula is shortened.

  • Come the day this sentence has no subjunctive, I’ll eat my hat. And be it for good or ill, the subject isn’t you here, either. – tchrist May 29 '15 at 20:03
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    @tchrist - Well let us hear your view. – rogermue May 29 '15 at 20:08

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