I am reading a document with this in a sentence:

It is intended that the Plan qualify as...

Is the word "qualify" conjugated properly? (I would have used "qualifies" but perhaps the conditional tense applies in this case, or there is some other valid reason for "qualify")


This is the subjunctive, which takes the same form as the bare infinitive.

It is more common in American English than in British English and is a relatively formal usage. In British English, the form "should" + bare infinitive is more often used. Occasionally, the indicative form is used instead (which is only distinct in the third-person singular), though not everyone would consider this correct.

The subjunctive is often used when describing requests, commands, suggestions or requirements:

  • He requested that she take notes.
  • I ordered that he lay down his arms.
  • It is necessary that you be there.

So yes, you can say "it is intended that the plan qualify as ..." or "it is intended that the plan should qualify as ...". To my ear, the indicative "qualifies" would sound odd here.

A slightly less formal re-wording would use the infinitive: "it is intended for the plan to qualify as ...". In many other sentences, the more common wording likewise uses infinitives ("he asked her to take notes", "I ordered him to lay down his arms").

See also: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/grammar/when-to-use-the-subjunctive

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    This is the umpteenth answer describing the use of the 'mandative subjunctive' as some would call this, but I won't downvote as it's one of the best (if memory serves me right). In Britain, the indicative is regularly used, though like you I'd not use it here (probably too formal a register). – Edwin Ashworth Aug 24 '17 at 18:46
  • Thanks for that! Just to clarify, on what grounds would you otherwise have been tempted to downvote? Is it that the questioner ought to have been able to find the answer elsewhere (or that I could have found an existing answer to direct them to), or is it that you'd rather we didn't use the term 'subjunctive'? (I understand the arguments against the term, but it's the most widely understood terminology, and I wanted to answer the question rather than discuss terminology.) Or because I was perhaps too dismissive of the option of using the indicative in such sentences? – rjpond Aug 24 '17 at 18:50
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    Working backwards from 'subjunctive', an in-house search gives 1199 hits, and from 'mandative', 230 hits. OP may not be able to perform these searches, but someone proficient hereabouts could look for a duplicate before posting (or after, and delete). The subject has been dealt with at length. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 24 '17 at 19:20

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