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How do you use albeit ?

by lluke9
Tags: albeit
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May11-12, 08:09 PM
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Apparently I have to show my mastery of the English language on the upcoming AP English exam on Wednesday (or is it Monday?).

So I decided to learn to use a word I've known for a long time, now, but have never bothered to learn to use efficiently. It's one of my most favorite words, albeit quite often misused.

I know that albeit can be used in several ways, such as:

Albeit old, the grandfather clock runs splendidly.
The runner runs, albeit slowly.

But I'm having trouble figuring out what happens to the idea of a sentence if you use it like:

The grandfather clock is rather dirty, albeit working; nevertheless, it needs cleaning.

Can you use it like that? It feels like something's wrong, because "The grandfather clock is rather dirty" is the main idea here, so negating it with "nevertheless" and following up with a non-negating phrase doesn't seem right.

Or is it okay, since "nevertheless" comes after "albeit in perfect working condition", so it effectively negates the "albeit" part?

I would ask on a grammar forum, but signing up just to ask a question seems pretty bad-mannered to me, so. And the forumgoers here are well educated, no? ;D
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May11-12, 08:24 PM
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phinds's Avatar
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The grandfather clock is rather dirty, albeit working; nevertheless, it needs cleaning.

The grandfather clock is rather dirty, but working; nevertheless, it needs cleaning.

I don't see any difference between the two, nor any difficulty with either construct GRAMMATICALLY, but overall both are awkward and should not be used. Without the "nevertheless" clause, either would be fine.
May11-12, 08:59 PM
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turbo's Avatar
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Use "albeit" sparingly, but instead of "although" or "though". It is a word that is uncommon in common modern English. I like the word, but then again, I love English Lit.

May12-12, 05:11 AM
Ryan_m_b's Avatar
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How do you use albeit ?

"It's a nice day here albeit a bit overcast."

Ableit is a conjunction that has similar uses to "although"
Jimmy Snyder
May12-12, 06:33 AM
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I consider albeit proper, albeit old fashioned.
May12-12, 08:46 AM
lisab's Avatar
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I worked for an engineer once who tried to use it in a report..."all be it". Whew. And the guy was sooooo arrogant.
May12-12, 09:24 AM
Borek's Avatar
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I don't use albeit, albeit I see it now and then.
May13-12, 12:01 AM
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The grandfather clock is rather dirty, albeit working; nevertheless, it needs cleaning.
The sentance structure is clunky.
The way it is written the sentence has added no extra information to the reader with the "nevertheless, .... ".
Maybe re-write as "The grandfather clock is rather dirty, albeit working; nevertheless, it stood out from its corner in the room as the most shining and imaculate piece of furnature."

And the albeit appears to refer to dirty and not the clock and that is another conflict for the reader.

It would be better to re-write as:
" The grandfather clock, albeit working, is rather dirty and needs cleaning."
May13-12, 12:36 AM
Drakkith's Avatar
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Hmm. From
although; even if

I'd say if you can use those phrases then you can use the word "albeit".
May13-12, 06:55 AM
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The Word of the Day site

November 7, 2000
Erik Hallberg wrote:
One of my favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein, who said, "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." In use, albeit seems to work as a fancy form of "but," which is a perfectly good word most everyone uses correctly. Is albeit therefore simply a verbal flourish, a synonym of "but" without a specifically different meaning, or is there more to the story? "All be it" would appear to be the building blocks of albeit, in the sense of "all that it is." To my mind, this would work if the idea was broken down into "...but when you consider the whole of it..." Or am I trying too hard to make literal sense of an odd word?
Albeit may be an odd, archaic-sounding verbal flourish, but as a conjunction it has been flourishing since Chaucer's time. As you imply, it literally means 'all (completely, entirely) though it be'. The actual meaning of albeit is closer to 'even though or even if; although (it be)', and just like although, though, it is sometimes used to begin a clause: "He can ask for a loan, albeit I do not think he will get it." Here albeit implies an opposition or contrast, and yes, it is very similar to but.

However, the Albert Einstein quote shows the more common use of albeit in a concessive phrase," one that expresses some sort of conceding, yielding, or admitting. In this use albeit can mean 'conceding or admitting that; in spite of the fact that', and the word notwithstanding can sometimes be substituted.

In the word albeit, the verb "be" is the third person singular present subjunctive. (The corresponding indicative form would be "is.") In subjunctive constructions, the order of subject and verb is sometimes reversed: "Be it ever so humble...; Be it feast or famine..." (Patrick Henry's exclamation, "If this be treason, make the most of it," is an example of a subjunctive construction in which subject and verb are in the usual order.)

Historically, the adverb all has been used with the conjunctions if and though, and often the order was reversed, producing "all if, all though." The phrase "all though" was originally an emphatic form of though, which later became although. Sometimes the conjunction if or though was dropped if the verb was placed before the subject, leaving all as an apparent conjunction, in the sense of "even if, even though, although." So the phrase "al be it" meant 'although it be', which later became the one-word form albeit.

May13-12, 09:44 AM
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I use "albeit" slightly more often than "betwixt".

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