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Litter adversely affects the environment. Be it littering along the road, on the streets or by the litter bins, toxic materials or chemicals in the litter can be blown or washed into rivers, or oceans and eventually pollutes the waterways.

How can I understand these sentence properly, I do not really get the highlighted part "be it". is it the same meaning as whether?

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This is a complex sentence with an asyndetic conditional clause. In the clause there is a subject-verb inversion. The verb /be/ is in the Present Subjunctive. The sentence can be re-written: 'If it be ...'. Similar sentences with such inversion: 'Were I you, I would recommend the following...' , 'Be it so, ...'. Nowadays the Subjunctive Mood is used sometimes in Formal English.

  • Thanks, your answer is like a mind opener to me :) , is it too formal to use in an essay? I mean I kinda feel that it is more proper for more formal writing such as a scientific article or things like that. – Tinh Le Dec 4 '18 at 6:57
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    Though it is a bit bookish, I think, this construction is rather expressive and appropriate for an ecological essay. – user307254 Dec 4 '18 at 7:54
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Yes, it does basically have the same meaning as "whether" in this context.

Be it littering along the road, on the streets or by the litter bins,

Means the same thing as:

Whether it's littering along the road, on the streets or by the litter bins,

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