There is this quote from "How I Met Your Mother":

When I get sad I stop being sad and be awesome instead.

Why can you use "be" in this sentence? Doesn't it have to be:

When I get sad I stop being sad and (I) am awesome instead.

  • 1
    Related question on ELU Dec 29, 2015 at 13:22
  • 1
    If it was am, he is already awesome. I think in the first sentence the person is using be awesome as an imperative and not invoking the subjunctive.
    – Schwale
    Dec 29, 2015 at 13:24
  • Like "will be" with "will" left out.
    – V.V.
    Dec 29, 2015 at 14:06
  • The original is certainly awkward, and may be ungrammatical (I am not sure if it technically is or not). The speaker is almost surely aware of its awkwardness, and is making this almost childlike "mistake" for effect. Your rewrite sounds okay to me, but I think replacing "am" with "become" would be better if you're interested in rewriting the sentence in a standard way.
    – Jonah
    Dec 29, 2015 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


The use of be is incorrect. There are many grammatical errors or inconsistencies in the media - many are intentional for some stylistic reason, many are not. Here perhaps the script is supposed to be funny.

Incorrect language may be used because it is more suitable for the character being portrayed, or, as sometimes appears to be the case, because the scriptwriter does not know the correct English.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .