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Which sentence is correct: 1. We ask that each person contribute one item to our potluck. 2. We ask that each person contributes one item to our potluck.

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Think of it this way. First, here is a declarative sentence:-

  1. We say that each person contributes.

It is a simple indirect (reported) statement in which the verb is, therefore in the indicative; third person singular present indicative of the verb contribute.

  1. We ask that each person contribute. (not “contributes)

This sentence says nothing about how the world is. It says how we want it to be; are asking people to make it that way. So we use the verb in its modal form: contribute, not contributes.

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Under the grammar rules, the subjunctive mood must be used in the object clause after the word ask. Ex: The Province of Nova Scotia asked that this issue be addressed in response to cases of inadequate design and construction, and catastrophic failures. I have sat waiting for my turn and watched the barber use a blade twice before getting to me at which point i kindly asked that he pull out a new blade for me. 

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