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How Does One Use The Phase "i Declare"?

How Does One Use The Phase "i Declare"?

Postby Dubhagain » Fri Nov 07, 2014 3:24 am

I've alway wondered about the phrase "I declare". This is usually uttered in movies(never heard anyone say it in real life) set in the south. One character would say something and then the other would say "Oh, I declare" or "I do declare". What does this phrase mean? How exactly is it used? Is it the same as being surprised and saying "Oh my god!" ?Thanks
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How Does One Use The Phase "i Declare"?

Postby Chin-Hwa » Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:21 am

You use it when you don't feel like saying "I swan." It's not as emphatic as "Oh my God," but it's stronger than a mere "You don't say."  I don't know that I ever use it myself....maybe, but who really listens to their own verbal ticks?....but I can close my eyes and summon up a mental video clip of my maternal grandmother saying it.  Her sister also said it occasionally, but she was more partial to "I swan," which seems to mean the same thing.   My dad, the family funny-man, would use this phrase sometimes, but he would often use something more colorful like "Don't that blow your skirt up?"(obviously a Marilyn Monroe thing) or "Don't that snap granny's garters?"      Another popular phrase with the same general meaning would be "Don't that beat all?"  roseredcity 87 months ago Please sign in to give a compliment. Please verify your account to give a compliment. Please sign in to send a message. Please verify your account to send a message.
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How Does One Use The Phase "i Declare"?

Postby raleigh38 » Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:08 pm

It means "you don't say". Yes, my grandmother, who was a Southern belle, was constantly saying, "I do declare."  It's not always used when someone is surprised, but when you mean to reconfirm what the person has just said.   txteacher's Recommendations Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: And Other Words of Delicate Southern Wisdom Amazon List Price: $19.95 Used from: $9.00 Average Customer Rating: 4.5 out of 5(based on 11 reviews) Whistlin' Dixie: A Dictionary of Southern Expressions(Facts on File Dictionary of American Regional Expressions, Vol 1) Amazon List Price: $30.00 Used from: $6.39 txteacher 87 months ago Please sign in to give a compliment. Please verify your account to give a compliment. Please sign in to send a message. Please verify your account to send a message.
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How Does One Use The Phase "i Declare"?

Postby Darvell » Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:02 am

From my interactions with Granny, it was apparently a reaction to surprise, shock or of being startled. She was always a lady. She never said anything, at least in my hearing that would offend my impressionable ears. These days, "damn it, damn you" or "you are a &#%#?" seem to be frequent choices, as well as the ever popular phrases invoking diety when someone is surprised by something unpleasant. We now call people such names without first notifying the offending party that we will be making the declaration. There are quite a few modern translations to this particular use of "I declare", most of which are not appropriate for this forum. Back then, the offending party would be notified by Granny that she(and I never heard a man use this phrase) would be declaring something, only she didn't always follow up on her announcement. If she did, it was usually either some form of scolding, including making it very clear that we had shocked her to her very core by our behavior, and sometimes it was said in reaction to surprising and especially juicy gossip. Interestingly, in that case the declaration had already been made by someone else, but Granny would announce that it would be she doing the declaring. It seemed backward to me, but she did and said a lot of things that mystified me. If we weren't willing to engage in some activity she desired us to(remember here that she was a lady) she would call each of us a "stick in the mud". She thought Elmer, Homer, Myrtle and Gertrude were beautiful names. She washed and reused aluminum foil(which she called "tin foil") and plastic bags and she saved every button she ever found, including ones from rags. If you said something to her that she was skeptical of, she wouldn't call you a liar, she would say "fiddlesticks". I still don't know where that one came from. She came from a time when people shook hands instead of hired lawyers, and if you didn't feed yourself there was a good chance that no one else would, so you grew a large garden and preserved everything for the following year. She saw thing I never will, just like I am seeing and presumably will see things she never will. She was a living, breathing museum, an exhibit of her generation and although I found some of her habits and saying amusing, she was always interesting and I adored her.
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How Does One Use The Phase "i Declare"?

Postby Bramm » Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:18 pm

It's not as emphatic as "Oh my God," but it's stronger than a mere "You don't say."  I don't know that I ever use it myself....maybe, but who really listens to their own verbal ticks?....but I can close my eyes and summon up a mental video clip of my maternal grandmother saying it.  Her sister also said it occasionally, but she was more partial to "I swan," which seems to mean the same thing.   My dad, the family funny-man, would use this phrase sometimes, but he would often use something more colorful like "Don't that blow your skirt up?"(obviously a Marilyn Monroe thing) or "Don't that snap granny's garters?"      Another popular phrase with the same general meaning would be "Don't that beat all?" 
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How Does One Use The Phase "i Declare"?

Postby Princeton » Sun Nov 09, 2014 4:07 am

It?s a southern thing.  I know quite a few nice, older, southern ladies who still use this expression.  It?s in the same realm as "oh my god" but it?s not exactly the same.  The idea is that a sentence can be given more power by saying "I do declare that X is the case" instead of merely "X is the case."  So, while "oh my god" expresses surprise or shock, "I do declare" can be used for more generic emphasis. Example: ?I do declare, Mr. Beauregard, you are my hero." "I declare" and "I do declare" can also be used by themselves, in which case it does usually mean the same thing as "oh my god," that being a bit blasphemous for a genteel old southern lady, though "mercy me" isn?t uncommon.
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How Does One Use The Phase "i Declare"?

Postby Gotzon » Sun Nov 09, 2014 5:28 pm

Mercy me It?s a southern thing.  I know quite a few nice, older, southern ladies who still use this expression.  It?s in the same realm as "oh my god" but it?s not exactly the same.  The idea is that a sentence can be given more power by saying "I do declare that X is the case" instead of merely "X is the case."  So, while "oh my god" expresses surprise or shock, "I do declare" can be used for more generic emphasis. Example: ?I do declare, Mr. Beauregard, you are my hero." "I declare" and "I do declare" can also be used by themselves, in which case it does usually mean the same thing as "oh my god," that being a bit blasphemous for a genteel old southern lady, though "mercy me" isn?t uncommon. CowOfDeath 87 months ago Please sign in to give a compliment. Please verify your account to give a compliment. Please sign in to send a message. Please verify your account to send a message.
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How Does One Use The Phase "i Declare"?

Postby Eardley » Sun Nov 09, 2014 7:10 pm

Yes, my grandmother, who was a Southern belle, was constantly saying, "I do declare."  It's not always used when someone is surprised, but when you mean to reconfirm what the person has just said.
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How Does One Use The Phase "i Declare"?

Postby Alburt » Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:12 pm

You could also be my Colorado grandmother who would be 104 now if she were still saying it. From my interactions with Granny, it was apparently a reaction to surprise, shock or of being startled. She was always a lady. She never said anything, at least in my hearing that would offend my impressionable ears. These days, "damn it, damn you" or "you are a &#%#?" seem to be frequent choices, as well as the ever popular phrases invoking diety when someone is surprised by something unpleasant. We now call people such names without first notifying the offending party that we will be making the declaration. There are quite a few modern translations to this particular use of "I declare", most of which are not appropriate for this forum. Back then, the offending party would be notified by Granny that she(and I never heard a man use this phrase) would be declaring something, only she didn't always follow up on her announcement. If she did, it was usually either some form of scolding, including making it very clear that we had shocked her to her very core by our behavior, and sometimes it was said in reaction to surprising and especially juicy gossip. Interestingly, in that case the declaration had already been made by someone else, but Granny would announce that it would be she doing the declaring. It seemed backward to me, but she did and said a lot of things that mystified me. If we weren't willing to engage in some activity she desired us to(remember here that she was a lady) she would call each of us a "stick in the mud". She thought Elmer, Homer, Myrtle and Gertrude were beautiful names. She washed and reused aluminum foil(which she called "tin foil") and plastic bags and she saved every button she ever found, including ones from rags. If you said something to her that she was skeptical of, she wouldn't call you a liar, she would say "fiddlesticks". I still don't know where that one came from. She came from a time when people shook hands instead of hired lawyers, and if you didn't feed yourself there was a good chance that no one else would, so you grew a large garden and preserved everything for the following year. She saw thing I never will, just like I am seeing and presumably will see things she never will. She was a living, breathing museum, an exhibit of her generation and although I found some of her habits and saying amusing, she was always interesting and I adored her. Sources: Grandma Dorothy   sunquist's Recommendations Argot And Slang: A New French And English Dictionary Of The Cant Words, Quaint Expressions, Slang Terms And Flash Phrases Amazon List Price: $42.95 Used from: $30.45 Words, Facts, and Phrases a Dictionary of Curious, Quaint, and Out-Of-The-Way Matters Amazon List Price: $42.00 Used from: $13.33 sunquist 87 months ago Please sign in to give a compliment. Please verify your account to give a compliment. Please sign in to send a message. Please verify your account to send a message.
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How Does One Use The Phase "i Declare"?

Postby Eilam » Mon Nov 10, 2014 5:42 am

  I don't live in the deep South, but we are still pretty polite here in Texas, and I hear people say "I declare" all the time, especially older people.    In the South, it is not polite, especially for a woman, to use any kind of profanity.  Sometimes the person talking will say, "Well, I'll be!"  instead of "Well, I'll be darned!"   "Oh, my!"  is short for "Oh, my God!" -- You get the point.  So, "I declare!"  can be polite-speak for "I swear!" , or it can just announce that you are about to say something earth-shattering, as in "I declare I saw her wearin' white shoes after Labor Day!" 
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