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Hello, Grammar Exchange members!

I've run into the following sentence while reading a book titled "The Individual Subject and Scientific Psychology." What I don't understand about the sentence is the bolded part.

1.  Successful application of the basic knowledge of psychology in particular concrete situations — be those situations examples of individual or group psychotherapy, of consultation in a business firm, or of dealing with a troubled adolescent — can be consistent only if the basic scientific basis of these applications is adequate to the reality. (p.2)

I understand the bolded part is inserted there between hyphens to give examples of the "particular concrete situations." But I don't understand the structure of the phrase.

Is there any member who can explain how the bolded part was written that way? 

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Gustavo, Contributor
Original Post

Hello, KDog,

The subjunctive "be" can be used in front position, followed by a noun or a pronoun in subject case (e.g. they), to introduce a concessive structure.

@KDog posted:

 

1.  Successful application of the basic knowledge of psychology in particular concrete situations — be those situations examples of individual or group psychotherapy, of consultation in a business firm, or of dealing with a troubled adolescent — can be consistent only if the basic scientific basis of these applications is adequate to the reality. (p.2)

I understand the bolded part is inserted there between hyphens to give examples of the "particular concrete situations." But I don't understand the structure of the phrase.

 

You are right that those are examples, but the effect of the "be ..." structure is to convey a meaning similar to (no matter) whether those situations are examples of ..., which is concessive. 

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