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Is the following the right way to use sufficeth (assuming it is not replaced with something else)?

... , but sufficeth to say that the primary method of measuring parallax in stars is via "Annual Parallax"

Isn't it missing a subject?

... , but it sufficeth to say that the primary method of measuring parallax in stars is via "Annual Parallax"


sufficeth:

Verb

  1. (archaic) Third-person singular simple present indicative form of suffice.

Context.

5 Answers 5

9

The other answers are great; this relatively common usage should also be mentioned:

... but suffice it to say ...

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    I think a lot of people mishear this one as 'sufficeth': this may well be what the writer intended. Aug 24, 2011 at 9:54
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    Yes, suffice it to say is an adverb. Aug 24, 2011 at 10:28
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"Sufficeth" is the equivalent of the modern-day "suffices", with an "s". This can be seen by other words which end with "-eth", such as:

He goeth to Morgantious./He goes to Morgantious.

Now, we could say "Go to Morgantious", but we can't say "Goeth to Morgantious" because we can't say "Goes to Morgantious."

Thus, in the same way, we can't say "but sufficeth"; we would need a pronoun:

but it sufficeth to say...

In the same way, we would write:

but it suffices to say...

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    I'm not sure your logic follows in this case: you seem to be saying, "because in contemporary English the dummy pronoun cannot be dropped, that automatically means that in the period when the 3rd person ending was -(e)th, it also couldn't be dropped". Aug 24, 2011 at 12:49
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    In fact, I strongly suspect the OQ heard someone say "suffice it" and thought he heard "sufficeth"
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 24, 2011 at 18:06
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“Sufficeth” is just an old spelling of “suffices” commonly used in the King James translation of the Bible and other Renaissance religious texts. People often use it in a joking manner to give their writing a semi-Biblical air, especially in the phrase “it sufficeth to say.” But they sound clumsy rather than clever when they omit the “it” and begin the phrase thus “Sufficeth to say....”

“Sufficeth” is a verb; it requires a subject.

It means:

be adequate, sufficient, enough and capable

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  • @A. Uysal--I edited your answer; please let me know if you do not like the changes I made.
    – simchona
    Aug 24, 2011 at 9:52
  • I am a new user so I can not be aware of some.. No Problem.. You can edit every time Thanks.
    – A.Uysal
    Aug 24, 2011 at 10:07
  • @A. Uysal--I don't want to obscure your meaning in an answer, so please feel free to comment if I edit your answer and you think I didn't do it justice.
    – simchona
    Aug 24, 2011 at 10:09
  • @Peter: Because I didn't catch that.
    – simchona
    Aug 24, 2011 at 10:26
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    @A.Uysal, the King James Bible was first published in 1611, and language has shifted somewhat since then. The -eth endings gradually shifted to an -s ending (e.g. "goeth" to "goes", "thinketh" to "thinks".) While you are correct about the meaning, I wanted to point out that the usage was common to most (if not all) texts of the era including Shakespeare, and not confined to only religious texts. Aug 24, 2011 at 11:49
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It is OK to omit it, but then you need to use singular first-person form.

Suffice to say, his work was extraordinary.

If you want to use third-person form, than yes, you'll need it

It suffices to say that his work was extraordinary

In my opinion, though, It suffices to say should be changed to It is sufficient to say - sounds much better.

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I have always used "sufficeth it to say..." the way I originally heard it used among my mom's generation, generally while putting on airs.

Let us examine some potential options:

  • Let it suffice to say...

  • It suffices to say...

  • Suffice it to say (imperative)...

These all seem grammatical to me, but would lack pizzazz in my opinion.

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  • That's not right: this is a subjunctive/3rd-person-imperative via inversion, like come Saturday morning. So you do not inflect for the third-person indicative using -eth/-s: you leave the bare infinitive, and hence suffice it to say.
    – tchrist
    Oct 31, 2016 at 3:41

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