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He required that the essay be both brief and cogent.

Is there an issue with the verb "be" in this sentence?

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    No, that is proper usage (and a worthy goal). – Mark Hubbard May 21 '16 at 15:36
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    If you are a speaker of other languages learning English, I'd like to advise you to visit our sister site English Language Learners, but please make sure you take the tour and visit their Help Center before posting any question. Don't post the same question on English Language Learners. – user140086 May 21 '16 at 16:04
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The "required that" cues the present subjunctive which in English is simply the infinitive form of the verb and is distinguishable from the present tense only in the third person singular.

Example: She required that her son sit and eat his breakfast.

  • Re: "is distinguishable from the present tense only in the third person singular": And with the verb be (as in the OP's example). Oh, and somewhat subtly, with defective verbs that simply lack plain forms. – ruakh May 23 '16 at 6:22

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