An excerpt from the sub-headline of a recent article in the WSJ:

FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday explained why his agency recommended that Hillary Clinton not face criminal charges for her email arrangement while serving as Secretary of State.

I'm not a native English speaker but "not face" sounds wrong to me.

Why is it "not face charges" instead of "not faces charges" or "not to face charges"?


I don't consider this question a duplicate of "When should I use the subjunctive mood?". The question here asks to identify the grammatical rule. The other question asks about the usage of the grammatical rule.

  • @Rathony Thanks, if I knew what grammatical term to search for in this case I would have had the answer to my question ;)
    – Manuel
    Jul 6, 2016 at 16:03
  • My pleasure. The below answer seems to be great, too. Cheers. :-)
    – user140086
    Jul 6, 2016 at 16:19
  • @Rathony: You mean "the answer below" or "the following answer". Jul 6, 2016 at 19:59

1 Answer 1



  1. They recommend Hilary face charges
  2. They recommend Hilary faces charges.

The former uses the subjunctive mood, the latter does not. The subjunctive mood is used

to form sentences that do not describe known objective facts. These include statements about one's state of mind, such as opinion, belief, purpose, intention, or desire. It contrasts with the indicative mood, which is used for statements of fact.

The verb recommend often takes the subjunctive mood since it describes a counterfactual situation, that is, a situation that is not guaranteed to hold.

This site groups recommend with other verbs that take the subjunctive.

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