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How should I interpret come evening in this long sentence?

This ensures that, come evening, you've remembered whether or not you followed through in the morning.

This is a new grammar that I haven't seen before. What grammar does it follow?

  • Consider "come hell or high water" which is basically "at the time hell or high water arrive"; applying that logic here, we have "at the time evening arrives". – John Clifford Apr 1 '16 at 10:47
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    Possible duplicate of Is this subjunctive? which should be retitled "How should I interpret 'come the internet age' in this sentence?". – Edwin Ashworth Apr 1 '16 at 11:11
  • @EdwinAshworth It's not a duplicate. This question is not about whether come is subjunctive. – crocket Apr 1 '16 at 11:15
  • It's a duplicate. They're both about " 'come X' = 'when X comes / happens' " Note OP's 'what is the meaning?' query in the duplicate. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 1 '16 at 11:15
  • In the other question, the questioner was more interested in whether come was subjunctive than in the meaning of come. And, the answer focused on subjunctive mood, too. It's different enough. – crocket Apr 1 '16 at 11:16
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Come evening in this context points to "When the time of evening occurs".

An example of it in use:

She brushed her hair so that, come evening, she would be ready for the ball.

Is equivalent to:

She brushed her hair so she would be ready for the ball this evening.

  • Where can I learn this kind of grammar tidbits? – crocket Apr 1 '16 at 10:48
  • I only know because I spend a lot of my time reading a wide range of media: newspapers, conference reports, fiction etc. This particular phrase comes up more often in speech than in written media though. – Gunge Apr 1 '16 at 10:50
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    This link should help. – John Clifford Apr 1 '16 at 10:52
  • @crocket There is not much grammar in the formula come + time. It is a single idiomatic formula. – rogermue Apr 1 '16 at 19:05
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Come spring the trees will be green and the flowers blossom.

In my view the basic sentence of "come spring" is "When spring has come" or in older language "When spring is come". (In German it is still: Der Frühling ist gekommen.)

"When spring has/is come" was shortened to "spring come" and "come" was placed before "spring".

So, in my view, "come" is a past participle.

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    I don't think it's a past participle: I'm pretty sure it's a present subjunctive: the inversion tends to confirm this. "Come evening" is parallel to "Be that as it may", but the meaning is temporal ("When evening comes") rather than concessive ("Whether or not that is how things are"). – Colin Fine Apr 1 '16 at 14:21
  • @ColinFine Do you really think it is a wish? I think no one doubts that spring will come and I don't think someone says: May spring come then the trees will be green. – rogermue Apr 1 '16 at 15:47
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    No, I do not think that it is a wish, and I nowhere said that it was a wish. I said that it had temporal meaning. "Subjunctive" is a morphological category in some languages (only marginally in current English) and may have many different uses and meanings. – Colin Fine Apr 1 '16 at 15:59

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