English Grammar

There were be

Hi to all of you fellow gymglish users and members of the forum.
it's my turn to ask your light for a grammar point: I was surprised to read in an exercise:
"there were be 474... guests at the Deckamms' wedding.
I had never seen or heard this construction before, and I couldn't find any example of it in a translator.
Do you think it's correct, or is it  a mistyped and we should read "there were 474..."?
Thanks for your answers,


  • There were be ! Any well-meaning Gymglish user is to be taken aback by such a sequence of words.
    If Pimpanella herself is baffled, that expression proves an accident happened that distorted the sentence. Pimpanella suspects a plain typing error - errare humanum est.
    So Pimpanella who is always effecient and sparing of words suggests we got rid of the two letters be.  "There were 474 guests." That's perfectly clear.
    For my part, as I am used of bending over backwards to clarify anything and everything, instead of thinking two letters (be) could have been heaven-sent, I suspect another two-letter word (to) of having evaporated due to the high temperature in the writer's head. That could have been "There were to be 474 guests." [Il devait y avoir 474 invités. - Er sollte dort 474 Gäste sein.(?)]
    Which correction is the best? For sure Pimpanella's who is the one and only aware of the context.
    Another odd  thing strikes me in the sentence.  What the hell are doing there the suspension points? Does it mean 474-something guests?  Was it 400-something guests, I'd agree. But with a number as precise as 474, I can't understand the 474 . . . 
    Thank you, Pimpanella, for making us ponder over grammar.
    I have a hankering for meeting you once. You are looking so much attractive.
  • You are right AhQ, I should have written the full sentence, so you'd have the exact context.
    The suspension points stand for I was too lazy to copy the whole number ;)  It  was a six-figure number, like: 474,512 guests.
    So the other interpretation you proposed: "there were to be" would'nt  make sens with  such a precise number as you said.
    Thanks for pondering over, and sharing with us the wide vocabulary you master.
    Ok, let's go and meet somewhere soon :-)
  • Hi Pimpanella/AhQ,

    Well spotted, this was indeed a typo! As you said, there are multiple grammatical possibilities, but the most obvious change was to remove the "be", which is what I've now done.

    Thanks for your feedback!

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