1

I found this sentence in the Oxford Advanced Learner's English-Chinese Dictionary when I was looking up the word"such". Is this sentence in subjunctive mood? If so, is this sentence trying to stress that the opportunity is so rare? If not, why do they use didn't instead of don't?

  • 1
    What makes you think it might be subjunctive? – BillJ Sep 26 '19 at 9:25
  • @BillJ I think "didn't" indicates that this is subjunctive mood, means that the opportunity is so rare that it's almost impossible.I really don't know how to understand this sentence in any other way. I think it is okay to use "don't", but I really want to know the reason they use "didn't". – Jojo Sep 26 '19 at 9:50
  • 1
    "Didn't" is the simple past tense of "don't", indicating a state of affairs in the past. – Stuart F Sep 26 '19 at 9:59
  • No, Jojo. "Didn't" is the past tense of "don't". 'Subjunctive' is a clause type that uses a plain form verb, as in "It is vital that I be kept informed". – BillJ Sep 26 '19 at 10:19
  • Presumably the sentence is quoted from a story written in the past tense, and it tells you what the person in the story was thinking. You are right that the meaning is that opportunities like that are rare, but that has nothing to do with the subjunctive. – Kate Bunting Sep 26 '19 at 12:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.