Questions regarding the subjunctive verb mood

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6
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3answers
18k 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
458 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
302 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
154 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
2k 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
425 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
248 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
336 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
4k 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
700 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
628 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
2k 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
694 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
589 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
7k 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
823 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
176 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
9k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
4k views

Tenses after “as if”

"I'll always remember this rule as if I had just learned it" Do you consider this sentence grammatically correct? The main clause refers to the future, so I guess that the Past Simple would ...
3
votes
4answers
542 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
267 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
106 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
268 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
966 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
2k 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
478 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
1k 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
870 views

What is the subjunctive mood?

I had always understood the subjunctive mood to mean a hypothetical present tense. However, I think it might also imply that the hypothetical event is outside the realm of possibility. Is that ...
6
votes
5answers
865 views

Is it correct to say: “I would do something, be it me”?

I mean that "I would do something, if it only were me. But it was not me, so I've done nothing".
7
votes
5answers
951 views

What's the tense for repetitive past action?

In English, "would" usually denotes a conditional voice. "If I were sleepy, I would go to bed." But I've caught myself using it to denote repetitive or habitual past action. "On Thursdays, we would ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Does “it is entirely possible that” require the subjunctive form of the verb following “that”?

For instance, take the following sentence (from a real email exchange): it is entirely possible that one WebEx is not enough Is it correct? Should it be it is entirely possible that one WebEx be ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

“Was” or “were” in subjunctive clauses

I'm not a native english speaker, so even though I'm decently proficient at it, I don't really "know the rules" sometimes, and this is one that's been confusing me for a long time. Which one is ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Am I using the subjunctive mood correctly?

Does this sentence use the subjunctive correctly? He spoke as though he was the only one to tell the truth.
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Past/Present tense in a conditional statement

I'm not an English speaker. Even though I do understand conditional statements that are written by others but when it comes to my turn I still feel confused and don't really know how to organize it. ...
10
votes
1answer
528 views

English Subjunctive: An Imposition from Latin?

Often English grammar (as well as Koinê Greek, e.g "deponent", and probably others), has often been ruled by what I call "totalitarian grammarians" who impose Latin structures on it rather than doing ...
1
vote
1answer
921 views

Rule for when to use “could” as a helper?

It would be helpful if you could provide us further details. Is the use of could wrong here? Should it be It would be helpful if you provide us further details. What is the rule when should ...
6
votes
2answers
389 views

How can you make “to be” explicit and simple in this future conditional sentence?

I can say "Jerry's been a bad pussycat this morning" or "Hey, Jerry, you be a good pussycat now" or "Jerry's been active all morning so he's being a good pussycat now". All these involve the use of ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

“Important that John bring/brings” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use the subjunctive mood? Given the sentence John brings his lunch to school, is it correct to say It is important that John brings his lunch to ...
3
votes
4answers
13k views

“If I would go there, I would be in trouble” - correct?

Occasionally I've seen the construct: If I would [verb], I would [verb]. ... used, to indicate that the second clause is a condition of the first. For example, If I would go there, I would ...
4
votes
3answers
962 views

Is there a different grammatical term for “If I was” than for “If I were”?

Many people would say the correct form is "If I were rich ...". In modern colloquial English though most younger people would say "If I was rich ...". Prescriptivists might say the latter is "the ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Third person imperative recommendations/suggestions/requests

My question is on the grammatical correctness of the following sentence with regard to the form of the verb 'join': The plan is that the group join the party. Other sentences that I think ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

“I would prefer [it] if the meeting [would be/was] postponed”

Because I am still in New Haven, I would prefer [it] if the meeting [would be/was] postponed. What is the correct way of saying this? I am curious as to with or without it, and would be versus ...
0
votes
2answers
489 views

Subjunctive mood, progressive and perfect progressive tense

Are the following usages of subjunctive mood, progressive tense correct? If I be being your wife a shrew, you have the option of divorcing me. If I were being crowned May queen, I would ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How to conjugate the verb in a sentence that starts with “I wish…”

I generally find it hard to construct some sentences that start with "I wish, ..." Example: (Background:) Due to an incomplete technical documentation, we chose the wrong path, and ran into an ...
4
votes
4answers
725 views

Complete sentence: Is the subjunctive mood suitable for this case?

The worst that can happen is that he fail/fails/would fail/will fail the exam. Which of these is (or are) correct? In Spanish, the subjunctive mood would be used, is the case similar in English? ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

“If I were” or “If I was”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? “Was” versus “were”—word usage in Stack Overflow Ad ...