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2 Comments

  • I’m equally mystified by why this is so often looked up. Pronunciation must be one reason, but it’s also amazingly versatile in its grammar. The corpus shows it can be followed by:
    a prepositional phrase: this is the commonest pattern; an adjective; an adverb; a noun; a concessive clause (where it behaves like although). Examples follow (in that order):
    This department, albeit with an ever-changing title, has continued to this day.
    There is evidence, albeit weak, that he has even had links with al-Qaeda.
    With so many people able to come and go in the buildings the theft of belongings does happen, albeit rarely.
    Nicholson has made a reputation out of being one of the world’s great lovers, albeit a womaniser to boot.
    More arms were being fashioned in Falkirk, albeit the town remained quiet.

    What a useful word!
    In about 3% of cases, it is followed by a that-clause, e.g.:
    I was delighted to see that his view was very close to that which I have set out for Congress over the past 4 years, albeit that his version was much more eloquent and erudite.
    This doesn’t sound quite right to me, but there are plenty of examples.

  • People might look it up sometimes because they’re not sure if it’s acceptable in certain constructions: they’re used to seeing it in certain ways, and when an unfamiliar pattern appears they realise they mightn’t have the word’s full measure – or they want to prove the writer wrong!
    I suppose that’s the same as crediting its versatility.
    And it is an odd-looking word, just a blink away from German Arbeit.