In the Wikipedia article about the subjunctive mood, I read that the future subjunctive of own for the first person singular is I were to own.
In which situations is the future subjunctive used in English?
I really wouldn’t call that a future subjunctive. It’s merely a periphrastic construct that emphasizes the irregular were so that its counter factuality comes through more strongly. It’s actually a past subjunctive form. Witness:
As you see, there’s no difference between the last two entries. Therefore, there is no future subjunctive here at all.
Compare this with languages that do have a future subjunctive:
By the way, the supposedly future subjunctive case from English would be simply this in Spanish:
The first clause is in the past subjunctive and the second is in the conditional.
I’ve never before heard English described as somehow having a future subjunctive: would that it were so! I submit that that particular Wikipedia page has simply gotten it wrong.
"If I were to own a dictionary, I would know how to spell"
But consider these examples:
1, 2, 5 and 6 are corrent constructions; 3 and 4 are incorrect. I would describe 1 and 2 as in the indicative, 5 and 6 as future subjunctives. 2 expresses conditionality and uncertainty, and overlaps in meaning with 5, but to my mind, in 5 uncertainty is expressed in the conditional clause in a way it is not in 2. And at the least, the correctness of the use of the form "went" in what is clearly a statement about the future is best justified by recognizing it as a different form, even though the forms are homonyms.
Maybe I'm over-thinking this, but I believe the future subjunctive in English still has a (barely) discernible function.
The type of construction referred to as the "future subjunctive" belongs to the more general type of construction with modal meaning
which is used to indicate a future action that is thought to be iminent and probable, and is used especially to express obligation, e.g.,
Let's call it the prospective construction. When the verb [be] appears in its preterite form, there are two main interpretations. First is to indicate a reference time in the past, as in
Which means that at some time in the past, it was thought probable that Thomas would leave on the 3:30 train (regardless of what may have eventually happened). The preterite form, however, is not restricted to indicating past time. Instead, preterite forms may take on a modal meaning, used to refer to contemplated or counterfactual actions, e.g.,
The verb [be] is unique in English because it has an alternate form (sometimes called the irrealis) with similar function as the modal preterite. The following sentence has similar meaning with the previous one:
In the case where the irrealis form of [be] is used in the prospective construction, you refer to a prospective meaning coupled with a counterfactual meaning. Counterfactual meanings often involve future actions, but not always, so I think it would be more appropriate to call this construction proximate irrealis, or something along those lines.
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