Could you please help me understand why Simpson, in his Stylistics, uses subjunctive mood in the sentence below:

"The second problem is about what would hapen should a phrase that did contain adjectives suddenly appear in the text."

Sorry if you find the answer to this question too obvious

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    "The second problem is about what would happen if a phrase (that did contain adjectives) should suddenly appear in the text." – user140086 May 11 '16 at 14:27
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    That's not a subjunctive construction. "Appear" is in the plain (infinitive) form because it follows the modal verb "should". – BillJ May 11 '16 at 15:58
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    Yeah, I agree with @Rathony. In fact, I insist the word's placement be changed. [Hey, I just found another use for the subjunctive: when something is mandatory, as when "I insist . . .]. We also know the subjunctive mood (or mode) can be used when talking about hypothetical situations; you know, "What if I were [not "was"] to punch you in the nose?" I'm not going to, of course, but we can pretend I do and then you pretend you've been punched in the nose by me and imagine how it feels, how you react, what you say when it happens, and so on. – rhetorician May 11 '16 at 16:53
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    @rhetorician Yes, but "appear" in the OP's example is not subjunctive. Btw, "were" is the "irrealis" mood, not subjunctive. – BillJ May 11 '16 at 17:38
  • @BillJ: I'll have to defer to you in this. Maybe I should stick to rhetorical matters and leave the grammatical matters to others!? Don – rhetorician May 12 '16 at 7:42

The statement can be rephrased as: The second problem is about what would happen if a phrase that contained adjectives suddenly appeared in the text. In this instance, it can be clearly seen that the statement pertains to a contingent or hypothetical situation. Note that in this rephrasing, in the subordinate clause beginning with if, the following verb will be in the simple past tense.

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