One of this sentences is not prefer the others. Over there are plenty of ways to emphasize a point in English, but only "believe you me" flouts the rule so extravagantly. The phrase basically means “believe me.” It"s an imperative, and also in an imperative, the “you” is understood; us don’t generally say it. Sometimes it deserve to be included for emphasis, together in “You! Go!” or “Go, you!” but when there’s likewise an object, prefer the "me" in "believe me," we’d expect the “you” to come after it — “Believe me, you!” Why walk “you” come before the thing in “believe you me”?

This kind of sentence construction has a history in English. The King James bible contains instances like “be ye no proud” and “follow thou me.” Chaucer supplied it (“trust you me well”), together did Spenser (“call ye me the rescue Knight”), and Shakespeare (“mark ye me”).

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These days, there space still a few phrases the make the implied command “you” clear (“mind you,” “mark you,” “look ye,” “hear ye”) but only “believe you me” put the “you” in between the verb and also its object. The looks prefer a frozen idiom. A phrase that acquired passed down from background and never bothered come change. End of story, right?

Apparently not. The strange thing around “believe you me” is the it seems to it is in a contemporary innovation. In a arsenal of 18th century English texts, it doesn’t show up once. (Neither does “believe ye me” nor “believe you me.”) in ~ the very same time, “look ye” and also “hear ye” show up everywhere the place. 

For the 19th and also 20th centuries, a Google Ngram search mirrors that “hear ye” and also “look ye” decreased in use over time:




The phrase begins its climb with the publishing of the 1919 book Believe girlfriend Me, a light, renowned comic novel about rough-and-tumble characters who use non-standard words and also slang prefer “ain’t,” “says I,” and “holy smokes.” The expression didn’t originate through the novel though. That clear that it remained in use before the novel was published. The writer picks it increase in stimulate it to evoke the kind of common world who use it.

So the expression was currently on the streets in 1919, yet how go it get there? A possible answer Ireland.

A study of Belfast English by Alison Henry discusses exactly how older speaker of some dialects of English in Belfast not only put the imperative “you” after verbs (“go friend away,” “sit you down”), but also put it in between the verb and an item (“put friend it away,” “phone friend them up,” “hand girlfriend me that parcel”). This speakers likewise use the expression “believe you me.” It to be probably brought to America throughout the an excellent 19th century tide of irish immigration, whereby it took root together non-standard slang till its broader debut in a famous novel spread it to the mainstream. The couple of 19th century examples of the phrase that can be found, in The Dublin college Magazine and The Christian Examiner and Church of Ireland Magazine, support the Irish origin account.

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Of course, the usage of the phrase in Ireland could itself trace back to the larger English pattern, but it could also come indigenous the grammar of irish Gaelic, where the word order is verb-subject-object. In any case, as far as America is concerned, "believe you me" doesn’t reflect the long back legacy of Chaucer and Spenser, but a an ext recent development, the slangy, boisterous, immigrant-led language of the roadways that continues to enrich our language through every new wave.