The sentence is:

No one forget about the issue, please.

From what I've read on the internet, 'no one' always takes a singular verb, but somehow 'no one forgets' doesn't sound right to me. But I don't know why it doesn't sound right. Probably because this is an imperative sentence? No? Can someone please explain?

  • The imperative takes a bare verb: No body move! The declarative: This dog is vicious. No one forgets that without risking being bitten. See the comment thread here. – anongoodnurse Sep 20 '14 at 7:02
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    So the title is incorrect. The fact that 'forget' is first person plural in 'We forget so quickly' doesn't make it first person plural in 'I forget my keys at least once a week', 'Do you forget your keys so frequently?', 'Forget about it!' or 'No one forget about this, please.' – Edwin Ashworth Sep 20 '14 at 7:07
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    Oh, English. I cry. – blergh Sep 20 '14 at 7:13
  • @blergh - I don't blame you a bit. I've been speaking this language for decades, and I'm still learning new things. ') – anongoodnurse Sep 20 '14 at 7:23

If English had a third person imperative, I would say it was that, but otherwise I would go with a subjunctive expressing a wish or desire or command, kinda like a jussive subjunctive in Latin.

Other subjunctives like this in English: God bless America, God save the King. I'm sure there are some good examples without God too, but subjunctives are pretty dusty in English now...

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    Said someone wiser than I am: "Consider: Somebody at the front write their name on the board" -- an imperative with a 3rd person subject. This is an imperative, something different than the subjunctive. – anongoodnurse Sep 20 '14 at 17:50
  • My first thought was the same, but looking around the internet, I don't see any agreement that a 3rd person imperative exists in English (can you?). You could just as easily say "Somebody at the front write your name on the board". Maybe it's safer to say it's a jussive? Check out this article by Nordquist. – gpr Sep 21 '14 at 1:17
  • If you accept Nordquist's proposal that all are subsets of Jussives (to which I have no objection, nor the expertise to object), then your point is well taken. – anongoodnurse Sep 21 '14 at 2:00
  • In English, 'jussive' can only describe a category, its not a unique mood, and of course imperatives fall into this category. However, the first examples in his article are of non-imperative jussives which are subjunctives, including "Everybody listen" which is the same form as the OP's sentence. The only thing that comes close to a 3rd person imperative in English is a periphrastic construction using let – gpr Sep 21 '14 at 5:06
  • That is better debated with a grammarian or linguist than with me. My example came from one such person. :) – anongoodnurse Sep 21 '14 at 5:09

Yes it is precisely because it is the imperative that you are using.

The indicative would be 'No one forgets about these issues'.

In using the imperative you are calling on the second person plural of the verb - 'you forget'.

Of course if you were speaking to a single individual in an informal 17th-century register you could say 'Forgettest thou not about the issue'.

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    AFAIK, the imperative takes the base form of the verb, e.g. Be still (not the second person). – anongoodnurse Sep 20 '14 at 7:08
  • @medica Only because 'be' is an irregular verb. Think of a normal verb- walk, run, speak etc. where the imperative is not the second person plural of the indicative. 'Speak for yourself!' – WS2 Sep 20 '14 at 7:24
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    No, English person who likes to speak in the 17th-century register, it takes the base form of the verb. Irregulars serve to demonstrate that. – anongoodnurse Sep 20 '14 at 7:25
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    @WS2 How about You be quiet!? – Araucaria - Not here any more. Sep 21 '14 at 19:44
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    You don't seem to be able to use the subjunctive without a subject * He demanded that leave the grounds immediately, so it doesn't seem likely that the imperative's a form of the subjunctive. Any good reasons why it might be? – Araucaria - Not here any more. Sep 21 '14 at 21:28

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