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These are lines from the movie Dumb and Dumber:

This is the Hotel Danbury Presidential Suite, gentlemen, normally reserved for royalty, visiting dignitaries, illustrious stars of stage and screen. We have shortly coming the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and of course, Princess Charles and Di when they were together used to frequent the hotel constantly. (YouTube clip)

I can't seem to parse "We have shortly coming ..." While the meaning of the entire sentence appears clear, what does "have shortly coming" mean? How should the sentence be parsed? I can't even make out phrases in that part of the sentence.

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    As a non-native speaker, I guess the object of "have" in the bold part is "the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and Princess Charles and Di", and "shortly coming" is the object complement modifying the object. "shortly coming" seems to be instinctively placed before its object because the object is too long. – Zenith Jun 25 '19 at 0:14
  • @Floret I think you got it. Would you put that in an answer? – Eddie Kal Jun 25 '19 at 0:23
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    It's a normal adverb/verb pairing, just in what I consider an unusual order. The speaker has a formal British accent and so I assume this is a common expression for that dialect. As an American, I would have said coming shortly, (i.e. "coming soon") – Andrew Jun 25 '19 at 0:27
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It's a normal adverb/verb pairing, just in what I consider an unusual order. The speaker has a formal British accent, appropriate to the senior staff of a fancy hotel, so we can assume he is speaking "proper" English for that dialect. As an American, however, I would have said coming shortly, (i.e. "coming soon").

"We have" is an indirect, and therefore somewhat formal/polite way to say "is/are".

The Emperor and Empress of Japan are coming soon.

The use of "have" suggests that this is a special honor for the subject, as if it is an experience they are proud to own. As a related example, suppose someone is doing a show and they notice a celebrity in the audience, who they want to acknowledge:

I see we have with us in the audience tonight the noted star of stage and screen, Hugh Jackman!


I would have also put "constantly" before "frequent".

Princess Charles and Di ... used to constantly frequent the hotel

Note that in this sentence "frequent" is used as a verb, another formal phrasing:

frequent (v): Visit (a place) often.

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