I'm worried about the usage of the words "betide" (happen to) and "neat" (well-ordered). Are them used correctly?


closed as off-topic by Dan Bron, Drew, FumbleFingers, Edwin Ashworth, Mick Mar 9 '17 at 16:01

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  • Did you look up the words "betide" and "neat"? Does the dictionary are record definitions for them which have your desired meaning and part of speech? – Dan Bron Mar 9 '17 at 13:24
  • Yes, I wrote this sentence trying to use the definitions I found on a dictionary. But, I'm not sure if they are used by people in this way. – Márcio Santos Souza Carôso Mar 9 '17 at 13:27
  • Can you edit your question to quote the two definitions of betide and neat you think are relevant, then? The more background and research you share with us, the more helpful we can be. – Dan Bron Mar 9 '17 at 13:29
  • "...going to betide him...and life is going to be nice..." – mahmud koya Mar 9 '17 at 14:26
  • 1
    Nobody uses 'betide/s' except in one or two fixed archaic expressions. And though 'neat' is in common use, it would not be used commonly in 'his life is going to be neat'. 'Well-ordered' would be bettar, but usual collocates are calm, peaceful, serene.... This question beautifully illustrates the hazards in diligently trying to faithfully apply dictionary definitions as though they contained all necessary information. English isn't like that; collocation and limits of homonymy (and hence distribution) are unpredictable. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 9 '17 at 16:11

I would say, "He knows good things are going to betide him, and his life is going to be neat once again."

Grammatically, "Betides" is the incorrect verb conjugation. You mean to use the infinitive of the verb: "to ____", as you do in the latter clause "his life is going TO BE neat once again." You also need to add a comma to separate your two independent clauses, since you repeat the subject. If you remove "his" you won't need the comma.

In regards to your comment about whether people use these words in this context, Betide is used correctly, though very infrequently. I'm sure it comes from "tidings," which I only know from an old Christmas song. "Neat" is most often used to describe a space, such as a bedroom or an office. I find your usage here poetic and pleasant. However, if you want to switch up your word choices to something more conversational, I would say, "He knows good things are going to come to him, and his life is going to be calm once again."

Hope this helps!

I also wanted to note that in your comment you wrote, "Are them used correctly?" The correct way to ask the question is "Are they used correctly?"


Betides sounds archaic. Most search results on the first page of google books are from the 19th century. If you picked that yourself for modern usage, I would deem it incorrect. Likewise, neat might be to weak an expression, depending on context. A stack of folded clothes or fine handwriting is neat; in contrast, a live in order is, well, orderly (comfortable, amendable, ...).

If the text is not yours, it is correct as far as grammar was concerned and the style is probably contextually fitting.

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