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In a movie, I heard a character say:" I now pronounce you Marry and Joe.", and his friend said: " I now pronounce me very impressed, but I'm not getting those kinds of offers".

Shouldn't he say " I now pronounce that I'm very impressed"?

Did I ever get him right?

Please elaborate

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    Welcome! To be honest, it's all pretty confusing. Can you tell us which movie or even better, link to a clip? What we can say is that the "I now pronounce you __ and __" is traditionally part of a wedding ceremony. It sounds like the second speaker is making a joke based on the wording, but the meaning is unclear. Oct 29 '21 at 18:08
  • If you heard the character say it, how do know he said "know" and not "no"? Oct 29 '21 at 18:08
  • Another thing that might be helpful: The wedding-related use of "pronounce" is the one defined here under the "TO STATE" meaning. It can use "that," but it can often do without it in the construction used in a wedding, which means "I pronounce [something] TO BE [something]." Similar would be "the doctor pronounced me fit to work." Oct 29 '21 at 18:14
  • @AndyBonner Thank you so much. I have to apologize because there was a mistake in my question and I just fixed it. I changed all "know"s to "now". I should mention that it's part of a longest conversation that took place in a comedy show.( Bojack Horseman, season 3, episode 2, 22:12(min: sec))
    – Smap
    Oct 29 '21 at 18:52
  • @JohnGordon Actually I have the transcript, and as I said in my previous comment, I made a mistake. I'm so sorry for that.
    – Smap
    Oct 29 '21 at 18:52
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Context: Actors from Hollywood (or "Hollywoo," as the case may be) are talking. If I remember right they are married but are breaking up. From this transcript:

Jessica Biel: This podunk benefit is below us. I'm about to be in what I've been told is a very important gay rights movie, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.

Mr. Peanutbutter: I now pronounce me very impressed, but I'm not getting those kinds of offers.

"I now pronounce you man and wife" is a phrase associated with the traditional wedding ceremony; the officiant says it at the end, declaring that the couple are now married. "I now pronounce you Chuck and Larry" is a silly movie title based on that phrase, with Chuck and Larry marrying each other.

Mr. Peanutbutter makes a funny statement based on that movie title: he "pronounces himself" (declares that he is) "very impressed" with the fact that she got asked to be in such a big movie, but he has not been getting similarly large offers, and so he doesn't feel like the benefit is "below him."

To be grammatically correct he should have used the reflexive pronoun and said "I now pronounce myself very impressed" but the sentence is not really good usage either way. It is just a play on words, something that Bojack Horseman is known for.

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The syntax here, since no one bothered to explain it, is

I pronounce [accusative pronoun] [complement]

This is one of the few cases where you can just drop the "to be" entirely, and it basically only works because it's a formal construction. For a usage that could actually be heard in regular conversation:

I pronounce them dead of natural causes.

You can also use it with any other verb of belief:

Nobody has ever managed to prove or disprove that P ≠ NP, but I believe it true.

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When a couple get married, it's conventional in English for the minister or the judge or whoever is performing the wedding to say, "I now pronounce you man and wife" or "I now pronounce you husband and wife". That is, he is saying that he pronounces, that is, declares, that these two people are now married.

I'm not sure what was meant by "I now pronounce you Mary and Joe." It sounds like either a variation on the usual announcement of a marriage, or perhaps making some joke comparing these people to a married couple.

The other person saying, "I now pronounce me very impressed" is making a joke keying off of the standard marriage announcement. He's saying it about himself, so instead of "I now pronounce you ..." he says "I now pronounce me ..." And obviously instead of "husband and wife" he says "very impressed".

Both the original, "I now pronounce you husband and wife", and the joke, "I now pronounce me", are not conventional modern grammar. I don't know if that was accepted grammar at one time or if it was always a stylized way of speaking. A full grammatically correct sentence would be, "I know pronounce that you are husband and wife." But we all know what it means. Even if it wasn't an accepted formula I don't think it would be hard to figure it out.

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  • Sorry, I disagree; “pronounce [noun] [adjective]” is a valid current usage, but only in a very few official contexts (see the dictionary entry I linked, or others). What is true is that the joke mirrors the construction of the original for humorous effect, and you couldn’t really use it without the context. Oct 29 '21 at 18:58
  • Also, one point that no one has highlighted yet: even if this were a construction that could commonly be used in casual conversation, it really ought to be “I pronounce myself,” not “me.” The speaker chooses the shorter pronoun to better mirror the original, again for humorous effect. Oct 29 '21 at 19:01
  • We have a tradition in our house that we have a special home cooked meal on Saturday evenings, and a tradition also of the person tasting it at the table (i.e. not the cook) giving their verdict. I sometimes intone something mock-ceremonial. Last Saturday, I said in my Justin Welby voice, "By the authority vested in me, in the sight of Gahd, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I hereby pronounce this a Saturday Night Special". You know what it's like when couples live together for a long time - they go a bit crazy, or maybe it's just us. I guess you had to be there. Oct 29 '21 at 20:32
  • @AndyBonner Yes, that's what I was trying to say. Sorry if I wasn't clear, and if people find your post more clear, point for you. :-)
    – Jay
    Nov 1 '21 at 14:31

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