BIONDELLO: Why, is it not news, to hear of Petruchio's coming?

BAPTISTA: Is he come?

BIONDELLO: Why, no, sir.

BAPTISTA: What then?

BIONDELLO: He is coming.

BAPTISTA: When will he be here?

BIONDELLO: When he stands where I am and sees you there.

An extract from Taming of the Shrew Act 3 Scene 2

What does 'come' mean in this context? I guess that come could be substituted for here. But after searching for what come could have a second meaning in middle english, I came up with nothing. Does anyone have sufficient evidence to be able to prove that my claim is correct or disprove it and come up with an alternate solution?

Edit to clarify why my question is different from this. It is because I am interested in the word 'come' and not 'become.' The other answer does not satisfy my queries which is the evidence. I believe that these two topics are completely different and under no circumstances is my question a duplicate.

  • In modern English it would be "Has he come yet?"
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 14, 2015 at 12:29
  • @HotLicks I need some kind of dictionary evidence that this is true. So why are you guys voting to close my question? Is it not well researched? Or do you agree with Edwin that this is a duplicate. I am very sure this is not off topic. I need to know the exact reasons why. By the way in my question I have stated that I have assumed that it means, 'Is he here?'All i need is evidence.
    – CipherBot
    Aug 14, 2015 at 12:51
  • I do agree the question is a duplicate. This is another example of the same phenomenon that is described very well in the accepted answer to the original question. FYI, all the close-votes so far are indeed votes to close as duplicate. There is nothing wrong with your question per se, but I feel that the answer to the other question answers your question just fine.
    – oerkelens
    Aug 14, 2015 at 13:45
  • "Edit to clarify why my question is different from this. That is because I am interested on the word 'come' and not become. " In my answer in the claimed duplicate, I specifically mention the be-perfect construction be come ('Spring is come'). Aug 15, 2015 at 21:29

3 Answers 3


"Come" means arrived. In today's English one would say "Has he arrived?", but this forecloses the wordplay that Shakespeare is making (between understanding "coming" as arrival and journey, the process that leads to arrival).

"Is" is there instead of "has" because of antiquated rules for forming the past participles of certain verbs that denote changes of state (one sees this still in French and German, at least).


The line can be reworded either as "Has he come?" or "Is he here?". Your understanding is correct, it is just "old timey". As for any rule about it, I am sorry I have nothing there.


Evidence was requested. Here's what I found {ODO}:

definition of to be:

archaic Used with the past participle of intransitive verbs to form perfect tenses: I am returned; all humanity is fallen .

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