A: You’re the second perchild in a week to ask us around this consumption. In contemporary English, the prevalent expression is “suffice it to say,” though “it suffices to say” and also “suffice to say” have their adherental fees.
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Why the “it”? Let’s begin with the etymology of the verb “suffice.”
It’s defined this method in the Oxford English Dictionary: “to be enough, enough, or adequate for a objective or the finish in see.”
Words comes from the Latin verb sufficere (to be adequate or adequate) and was initially taped in English in about 1325.
Here’s exactly how Sir Thomas More provided it in 1528 in one of his dialogues: “Yet yf he lacked charite, all hys fayth suffised not.”
And below it is in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew (1596): “ ’twixt such friends as wee, / Couple of words suffice.”
Almany from the beginning, but, world likewise used this type of construction: subject + “suffice” + “to” + infinitive. Here are a pair of 19th-century examples:
1839, from Fanny Kemble’s Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation: “A very brief time would suffice to teach him to check out.”
1883, from the Manchester Guardian: “A bit point has actually sufficed to damage the balance of a structure that was already tottering.”
A comparable construction would be “it suffices to say,” yet as the OED points out, the subjunctive variation of the expression (“suffice it to say”) is the one now typically offered.
The dictionary quotes the poet John Dryden as creating “It suffices to say” in 1692, however the later examples, from the 18th and 19th centuries, are in the subjunctive mood: “suffice it to say.”
The OED indicates that “formerly,” the expression sometimes showed up without the “anticipatory subject it.” In various other words, “suffice to say” was when provided, however no even more.
The dictionary seems to be a little bit behind the times below. Although “suffice it to say” and “it suffices to say” are far even more prevalent today, the “it”-much less variation is incredibly a lot with us.
Here’s the Google scorecard: “suffice it to say,” 24 million hits; “it suffices to say,” 1.2 million hits; “suffice to say,” 349,000 hits.
In modern-day times, according to the OED, the “it” variation of the expression is “chiefly in the subjunctive.”
Why the subjunctive?
Well, it’s not unusual for a fairly archaic-sounding subjunctive (like “suffice it …”) to survive in a common expression quite than the straightforward indicative variation (“it suffices …”).
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For instance, we use the subjunctive in such common sayings as “God be via you,” “far be it from me,” “heaven assist us,” “God forbid,” “Long live the Queen,” “so be it,” and “come what may.”
If you’d favor to read more, we’ve created a blog item around the survival of older vestiges of the subjunctive in constructions like those.