I've read this sentence to myself quite a few times now and it seems the more I do so the less correct it sounds. I think it's using the subjunctive mood, however I'm not sure if I've used it correctly. Can anyone say if this is right or not?

bla bla bla... and it is our hope that anyone be able to receive healthcare without having to compromise on ... bla bla.

More specifically, I'm concerned about using "be" in its simple/infinitive form, it doesn't seem to sound right to me, should I have used "should"?

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    What fools these mortals be!
    – GEdgar
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 13:39
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    The verb hope doesn't usually take the subjunctive. You could use is, will be or would be. Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 13:55
  • You’re quite right, that is a subjunctive construction (some linguists will say that the subjunctive doesn’t exist in English and would call the construction something else; but the concept is the same). That said, it does sound off to me too, even substituting the indicative. I think it’s because be is the wrong verb in essence here—your hope is that anyone should if you have your way become able to receive healthcare, and the subjunctive be doesn’t quite fit that. @GEdgar That’s not a subjunctive, simply an old-fashioned plural form. Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 13:55
  • Thanks Janus! Do you think "can" would do the trick? ...and it is our hope that anyone can receive healthcare without having to compromise on....
    – Anthony
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 14:03
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    @Peter: But "hope" here is a noun, not a verb. I can't see that the subjunctive is particularly unusual in such contexts, except for the fact that OP's example only really works for me if I replace anyone with everyone. Not that I can find written instances with the specific word hope, but here are some examples of [people having the] desire that everyone be able to [do something]. Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 14:30

1 Answer 1


This sentence is fine if you want to sound idealistic. And there's nothing wrong with sounding idealistic.

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    @Anthony - In case you don't know how it works yet: if you want to show your support for an answer, you click on the upward-pointing triangle to the left of an answer. For the opposite, you'd click on the downward triangle underneath. If you don't feel thumbs up or thumbs down about an answer, you don't click on either. Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 12:52
  • Thanks, it's just that votes cast by those with less than 15 reputations are not publicly displayed. I need a few more.
    – Anthony
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 9:29
  • @Anthony - Oh. Okay, I looked into it. Apparently one needs a rep of 15 to be able to upvote an answer. See stackoverflow.com/help/privileges. However, I have not found anything to indicate that a minimum rep is needed to accept an answer. n fact, I believe 2 rep points are awarded when you accept an answer. (However, obviously, if you do not find any acceptable answers to your question, then you should not accept one.) Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 13:19
  • You can also provide feedback and ask for improvements to a promising answer. And if you see a particularly helpful comment, you can request that it be converted to an answer. Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 13:21

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