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  • Would that it were (what?)

       August 24, 2004

    John Kerry recently appeared on The Daily Show. with Jon Stewart. I didn't see it, and I'm not at all broken up by that. Don't get me wrong, I love The Daily Show, but John Stewart is such a disgustingly flagrant liberal that I can hardly stomach it when he has Dems on the show (e.g. like when he had Bill Clinton on to attack President Bush a few weeks ago.)

    According to the article, the following exchange took place:

    Stewart also sought answers to another hard-hitting question: "Is it true that every time I use ketchup, your wife gets a nickel?" The candidate's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, is heir to the Heinz food fortune.

    "Would that it were," Kerry said.

    What the hell does that mean? "Would that it were?"

    I assume it's a New England thing? Or maybe it's an Kerryish-intellectual thing that is so far beyond my lowly, uneducated, easily confused understanding? Or, perhaps before going on the show, Kerry punched "what kinds of coloquialisms do normal people use?" into google and got back a lemon? I don't know, but, in any event, we certainly don't say things like that in Midwest. And I've never heard anyone use the phrase anywhere else in the country, either, and I've lived in a lot of places.

    A google search shed no light on the answer. Maybe someone out there can fill me in on not only what this phrase means, but also where it's used and where it came from?

    Posted by jkhat at August 24, 2004 07:44 PM

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    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: kris at August 24, 2004 10:13 PM

    Isn't it just short for "Would that it were true?" Kinda like how people from Wisconsin say "wanna come?" or "wanna come with?" to mean "do you want to come with me?"

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: james at August 24, 2004 10:23 PM

    ok, lets assume that it is short for "Would that it were true?"

    what the hell does THAT mean? again, not a sensible sentence.

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: kris at August 24, 2004 10:43 PM

    a fanciful way to say "i wish it was true"? let's face it, Kerry *is* a fanciful kind of guy.

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: james at August 24, 2004 11:04 PM

    so when asked whether his wife for a nickel for every ketchup sold, kerry basically answered "I Wish?"

    Seriously? He went on national television and intimated that he doesn't have enough money and that he wishes that he had more?

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: kris at August 25, 2004 08:07 AM

    because john kerry is a man of the people, a man of the poor and downtrodden

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Nicole at January 15, 2005 02:45 AM

    How do you even know hes a liberal?Give me facts showing he said he was a liberal.Don't just say it without any facts!That just makes you sound ignorant.

    #  August 23rd, 2010 6:23 PM      Max
    Sorry but I couldn't help to answer.

    Would that it were = if (only) it were true

    It's an archaic way of forming the subjunctive, that is still used every now and then. It was widely used in 19th century speech and literature - mostly in a romantic way.

    Sometimes the expression is extended to "would that it were so" or "would that it were true." All of these variants still suggest a strong desire for at least one change in the present circumstances. When a talented athlete becomes injured and has to be replaced during an important game, for example, the teammates may strongly wish he or she were healthy enough to perform. The coach could respond with "Would that it were so, but we don't have that option right now." The speaker agrees with the sentiment, but also realizes that a desired change could not take place in reality.

    If you just had dug a bit you would have found a lot of examples (as I did above and below). And I quote:

    I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead! (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

    I would that my tongue could utter the thoughts that arise in me. (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

    I would that I had never, never come near it! (Charles Dickens)

    I would that all men were even as I myself. (King James Bible)

    PS: and yeah..., either you know nothing about your own language or maybe it's true what you wrote in your own words: " so far beyond my lowly, uneducated, easily confused understanding..."

    So IMO you'd better read more instead watching the 'freaking' fool-box.

    No offense.
    Have a nice day.

    #  May 31st, 2011 12:52 PM      lew
    " so far beyond my lowly, uneducated, easily confused understanding..."

    Well now, that just about covers it.  
    #  May 31st, 2011 1:36 PM      james
    Would that it were...  



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