Questions regarding the subjunctive verb mood

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6
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3answers
2k views

What tense is “If I were a bird, I could fly”

The sentence is not referring to any time past, present of future. It's just referring to an imaginary condition which has never existed and seemingly will never exist. Still, the sentence and other ...
1
vote
3answers
99 views

“Be not” or “is not”?

My point here is trying to explain why the message issued is not correct according to the operations allowed ahead. However, I'm in doubt about the bold part, is it grammaticaly correct or is there ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

“If I was to” vs. “If I were to” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? If I was to sum up my computer knowledge in one word, it would be “destitute”. If I were ...
1
vote
4answers
233 views

A prediction made in the past that affects something we will do in the future

Please ignore the factual accuracy of this sentence and focus on the tenses used. If the Mayans were wrong to end the calendar on Dec. 20, 2012, we'll use your donation to fund 2013 programming. ...
8
votes
4answers
978 views

Usage of 'had been' or 'were'

I was doing an exercise. I completed the sentence as following. If you were my child, I would have demanded that such an irresponsible teacher be fired. But the answer given in the book is ...
2
votes
2answers
98 views

Redundancy in subjunctive?

Is there any significant difference between the following sentences? Were it to be thought tasteless, I wouldn't do it. Were it thought tasteless, I wouldn't do it. Is the former implying that ...
-2
votes
2answers
4k views

“Be them” or “be they”? [closed]

Which of the following is grammatical? He had lollies be they red or blue? He had lollies be them red or blue? It seems as if it could be them as an object of be.
1
vote
1answer
438 views

Under what circumstances can the word “be” be used directly without any change? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use the subjunctive mood? 2 examples first: 1.It is announced that the accounting class of the 3rd and 4th hours on the morning of this Wednesday be ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

When is “will” used in an “if” clause?

Given the following sentences that use will in the if clause (which is seldom with if-clauses and therefore, I'm not sure they all are even grammatical or not). If you will/would kindly lend me ...
0
votes
3answers
128 views

“If a huge quake was to hit” — what is it grammatically? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why have the subjunctive and indicative converged in Modern English? When should I use the subjunctive mood? “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is ...
2
votes
1answer
167 views

was or were in Subjunctive Mood [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? Which is correct: “what if there was” or “what if there were”? Which of following sentences is ...
4
votes
1answer
178 views

Mixing subjunctive and indicative, “if you tripped every time someone mentions”

If you tripped every time someone mentions your name, you would have been dead by now. My question is about the subordinate clause of the above sentence, "If you tripped everytime someone ...
3
votes
5answers
186 views

Right tense for conditional event in nondescript time?

What is the right tense to describe an event that might have occured, be occuring or occur in the future, if (not) for something that happened in the past? Unike, in the examples, which anchor the ...
2
votes
2answers
7k views

Which one is correct: “wish I was here” or “wish I were here”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? Which one is the correct form: "Wish I was here" or "wish I were here"? ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Different conditional clauses — “if you saw”, “if you were to see”, “if you had seen”

Given the following sentences, what is the difference between the conditional clauses in them? If you saw a lion in a thick forest, what would you do? If you were to see a lion in a thick ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is American English so wedded to the subjunctive? [closed]

In the sentence 'She suggested that they go to the cinema' there is no way of telling from the sentence in isolation whether it means that the speaker gave advice on attending a moving picture show, ...
3
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3answers
7k views

Why is this sentence correct? “She suggested that he go to the cinema.”

Why is this sentence correct? She suggested that he go to the cinema. I would definitely use goes instead of go.
0
votes
1answer
696 views

A weird usage of “were” instead of “was” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Was” or “were” in subjunctive clauses “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? Why have the ...
7
votes
3answers
12k views

“It would be better if you drink/drank all the water”

Which one of the following is grammatically correct? It would be better if you drink all the water. It would be better if you drank all the water. The question is, obviously, about the use ...
2
votes
2answers
508 views

Past perfect sentence in “I would have killed the snake if I had hit him…”

Is the following a correct past perfect sentence? I would have killed the snake if I had hit him hard with a stick.
5
votes
2answers
11k views

“if it wasn't for…” vs “if it weren't for”

Should it be "if it weren't for holes, a bagel would be a bun" or "if it wasn't for holes, a bagel would be a bun"? I've been reading about the subjunctive and how it is generally used with "if" ...
3
votes
2answers
414 views

Verb agreement for something that was discussed in the past, while the issue still exists in the present

How do you write something that was discussed in the past, while the issue still exists in the present? The discussion resulted in the committee members highlighting crucial areas that need to ...
2
votes
4answers
276 views

'too' vs. 'so' in the subjunctive?

A colleague of mine just asked me about the sentence: If the book were not so expensive, I would buy it. She wanted to know why too was not a worthy substitute. I explained to her about the ...
1
vote
4answers
146 views

“Were you seen by him” vs. “were you be seen by him”

I am confused about which of the two is grammatically correct: Were you seen by him, he would have been surprised. Were you be seen by him, he would have been surprised.
4
votes
5answers
1k views

If he is still alive today, he…

Suppose Jeff was born on 1/1/1982. He went missing a long time ago. At the present time, he could be either dead or alive, but nobody knows for sure: 1 "If Jeff is still alive today, he is 30 years ...
1
vote
3answers
378 views

Use of the subjunctive for verbs other than “to be”?

It is to my understanding that it is grammatically correct to say: If I be [something], then [something]. because 'were' is the subjunctive of 'to be'. However, is it correct to use the ...
1
vote
1answer
4k views

Correct usage of “were” or “was”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? I am unsure whether to use "were" or "was" in the following instances ...
1
vote
5answers
217 views

“I was going to be called Kate if I was a girl”

This is an excerpt from a grammar book by Longman. It was discussing tense and time distinctions and the excerpt is about future time. As you can see in the next example, the reference can be to a ...
4
votes
1answer
272 views

Trouble with second conditionals (with **could**)

"I would do B if you could do A." This is a statement which has been bothering me for quite a while. I come across such statements often and, to me, they make no sense. Could is the subjunctive of ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

past perfect + would have + ed-participle / past simple + would + infinitive

Could you clarify difference between sentences: If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses If I asked people what they wanted, they would say faster horses ...
1
vote
4answers
598 views

What to use for hypothetically completed future actions

I was talking to a friend where I had to make a hypothetical statement about an activity that was completed in the future. So I came up with the following statements. If he continued college, he ...
1
vote
1answer
539 views

“It will depend on what I [will] see”

I want to refer to the future. When someone asks me: "what are you going to do when you have a chance to look at [something]?". How should I reply? Basically, the question is which one is correct (or ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

“if you were” vs. “if you did”

In the following two sentences "did" and "were" seem to be conveying the same meaning. If that's the case, what is the difference between the two and which one is more preferred? If you studied, ...
1
vote
1answer
590 views

Subjunctive mood: 'was' usage after 'I wish' and 'if only'

SFX Magazine had declared the sentence below as follow: 1) STAR TURN, 2) BEST LINES. I wish Bernard Cribbins was my grandad. Perhaps he would be willing to adopt? Rattigan: “If only that ...
1
vote
1answer
522 views

Third conditional would have and would

I read the following on a website and I was wondering if it was okay? Because the books only talk about the standard three forms. What would it mean if we changed the second part of the statement to ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

“If I would have lost you” vs “If I had lost you”

I watched a (Hollywood?) film the other day where a character visiting his just-hospitalised wife (who it seems will actually survive) says "If I would have lost you [I don't know what I'd do]". I'd ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

The third conditional for “if I could”

What is the third conditional for "if I could"? For example, we say: If I had studied hard, I would have passed the exam. How about this: If I could study, I would have passed the exam.[Is ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

“If something were” or “If something was” in the 2nd conditional? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which is correct: “what if there was” or “what if there were”? Correct usage of was/were on the object of a sentence “Was” or ...
3
votes
4answers
6k views

“So that it be” vs “so that it is”

Recently on IRC I said this: I do not believe in proving the correctness of already constructed programs. I believe in formally deriving programs so that they be correct. And I got almost ...
0
votes
2answers
742 views

“If we were going outside” in polite requests [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Was” or “were” in subjunctive clauses Can we use "if you were going outside, please let me know" or "I was wondering if you were going outside" ...
2
votes
1answer
164 views

Is the indicative “correct” when dealing with a conditional future? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which is correct: “what if there was” or “what if there were”? Someone recently posted to meta.stackoverflow.com about a plural bug on Area 51, ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

“If we were to agree” vs “If we are to agree”

In an undecided situation that needs to be discussed, which one of the following seems more accurate? Are they interchangeable? If we were to agree on this deal, do you think we can start ...
3
votes
4answers
502 views

Past conditional statements

What is the difference between the following two statements? If I went home for dinner, I took a glass of soft drink. If I went home for dinner, I would take a glass of soft drink. Are both ...
3
votes
3answers
249 views

Tense to use with “would”

In this sentence: "We would also accept an international transfer, but in that case we would ask you to pay your bank's charges at the time of the instruction to ensure that we received the full ...
1
vote
2answers
104 views

How do you properly follow a subjunctive with a related statement?

I recently wrote the following: …even if the story were originally true, there's no way that Obama was president when it happened. And then I stared at it, trying to figure out if the second ...
3
votes
2answers
235 views

Subjunctives and “am”

Hopefully this one is nice and simple. Which is correct: I would never say that I am superior to a cleaner. or I would never say that I were superior to a cleaner. I'm rather confused -- ...
4
votes
3answers
875 views

What's an example of good style for an “if/then” statement?

I'm not sure what's common for conditional statements, with and without alternative consequent clauses, in speech—even my own—but as a computer programmer, I'm niggled whenever I have to write English ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Recommend someone

I'd like to ask about the use of the verb "recommend" in the following sentences: We'd recommend you to book your flight early. The plumber recommended me to buy a new water heater. The ...
2
votes
2answers
463 views

English Subjunctive [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why have the subjunctive and indicative converged in Modern English? Why is it that in the English language, the past subjunctive is the same as the past indicative for ...
3
votes
2answers
946 views

Must conditional sentences begin with “if?”

I've been looking at conditional sentences (conditional clauses). Every example I've see is along the lines of, "if [x] then [y]." I've seen alternatives/substitutes for the if part: were I ...