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I frequently find this expression in literature and such. I couldn´t find anything on it on the net, only more of these expressions without explanations how to handle or understand them correctly:

"I have years of experience proofreading, editing and translating. From simple CVs and cover letters to Master Theses, it is important that your work be perfect and I will make sure that your end product is error-free."

Is that actually idiomatic language? Can it be replaced by "is"?

marked as duplicate by sumelic, tchrist Mar 4 '18 at 2:49

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  • 2
    The word you are looking for is "subjunctive". – Laurel Mar 1 '18 at 1:08
  • Probably a duplicate... – Drew Mar 1 '18 at 3:09
  • Formal English uses the bare infinitive, originally the present subjunctive, in subordinate clauses governed by certain verbs, as an indication that the clause being governed is not a statement of fact. This was inherited from ancient Proto-Indo-European. For example, Romance languages have stronger rules about these situations, and with more obvious inflectional morphologies, too. – tchrist Mar 4 '18 at 3:55

If you said "It is important that your work is perfect..." you'd have taken it out of subjunctive mode and the meaning would change: now it's about your value as an employee. Now your boss is saying that your work is perfect. If on the other hand he's making a demand, the word that introduces the subjunctive clause. So the verb should be be.

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