I have a question to ask regarding this quote.

In the formation of a marketing strategy, it is imperative that one considers the marketing mix, also known as the 4Ps – product, price, place, and promotion.

Should there be an 's' after consider?

Am I correct in saying that in a sentence like the one below, an 's' should follow the word consider?

It is imperative that the girl considers the marketing mix.

I seem to have seen similar sentences constructed both with and without the 's' after the verb before, e.g.

It is imperative that the girl go to school.

It is imperative that the girl goes to school.

Does this have anything to do with plurals and singulars, or with tenses?

Wow, this seems to be an awfully basic question but for some reason I just don't quite remember what should be done here.

(NOTE: The OP's question involves the mandative construction, one which might involve a subordinate subjunctive clause. -- F.E.)

  • This topic involves the mandative construction. There's various threads on the mandative construction that uses a subordinate clause that has the form of a subjunctive clause. There was a very recent thread on this issue. Maybe someone can find it and provide a link to it. – F.E. Apr 15 '14 at 4:06
  • Here's a recent post that deals with the subjunctive clause as part of a mandative construction: english.stackexchange.com/a/161322/57102 – F.E. Apr 15 '14 at 4:17
  • Note that the subjunctive (clause) is very common in usage by AmE speakers and writers. – F.E. Apr 15 '14 at 4:23
  • And here's another post on the subjunctive mandative construction (and other mandatives): english.stackexchange.com/a/145360/57102 – F.E. Apr 15 '14 at 4:30

In the formation of a marketing strategy, it is imperative that one consider/considers the marketing mix, also known as the 4Ps – product, price, place, and promotion.

You can use either version, the one using "consider" or the one using "considers". Both versions are grammatical; and for your sentence, both versions have the same meaning.

LONG ANSWER: For simplification's sake, let's just look at part of your sentence--the part in italics.

  • it is imperative [that one consider/considers the marketing mix]

In your example, the adjective "imperative" is a mandative word that can license a subordinate subjunctive clause (see CGEL, page 999, [15.i]), which in your case would be the declarative content clause:

  • (that) one consider the marketing mix

That above subjunctive clause is headed by a plain form of a verb, which here is the verb "consider"--that is what makes it a subjunctive clause. (Note that the plain form of a verb is used in many constructions, such as the infinitival, imperative, and the subjunctive.) In this case, the mandative construction is a subjunctive mandative.

You could also use a, er, regular-sort-of declarative content clause--that is, a non-subjunctive clause--such as:

  • (that) one considers the marketing mix

where the present-tense verb "considers" is in agreement with its subject "one". In this case, the mandative construction is a covert mandative.

There is also a should mandative:

  • (that) one should consider the marketing mix

The above are the three main subtypes of mandative constructions: subjunctive, covert, should.

NOTE: Here is an interesting excerpt in regards to AmE vs BrE differences in usage. From the 2005 textbook by Huddleston and Pullum, A Student's Introduction to English Grammar, pages 176-7:

. . . This should mandative is more common in BrE than in AmE, where the subjunctive mandative is generally preferred.

NOTE: Also, here is an interesting excerpt in regards to the health-and-well-being of the subjunctive in today's English. From the 2002 reference grammar by Huddleston and Pullum et al., The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL), subsection "Distribution of mandative clauses", pages 998-1000:

It should be emphasized, however, that there can be no question of giving a definitive list of mandative items: in spite of suggestions that have been frequently made that the subjunctive is dying out in English, this construction is very much alive, with attested examples like I would stress that people just be aware of the danger suggesting that its distribution is increasing.

Here are two relatively recent answer-posts that deal with the mandative construction:

Though, be aware that the term "subjunctive" is used in various different ways. Many still use it in ways that traditional grammars have used it, and some modern grammars use it in a more restricted way (which is the way I usually try to use the term). And so, don't let the different usages of that term mess you up too much.


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