0

In present tense I would say: "It is imperative that everyone stay home."

How would that sentence be in past tense? For example: "In 2020, it was imperative that everyone stay home."

Would that be correct or would it be stayed instead?

4
  • 2
    Stayed home sounds better Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 2:22
  • The present "subjunctive" is a bare infinitive in a that complement after an appropriate predicate (like imperative). It doesn't matter what tense the predicate is. But the "subjunctive" is always optional, so people can and do say stayed home, and in the present tense stays home. "Subjunctive" is like "split infinitive"; a zombie term that nobody uses correctly. Some call the irrealis I wish he were here the "past subjunctive", but others only use "subjunctive" for the infinitive in a tensed clause, like Patrick Henry's If this be treason, make the most of it. Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 2:45
  • Tense once. He demands that I stay home. He demanded that I stay home. Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 4:04
  • 1
    It's a free choice between the non-subjunctive past tense "stayed" and the more formal subjunctive "stay".
    – BillJ
    Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 6:54

1 Answer 1

1

John Lawler commented:

The present "subjunctive" is a bare infinitive in a that complement after an appropriate predicate (like imperative). It doesn't matter what tense the predicate is. But the "subjunctive" is always optional, so people can and do say stayed home, and in the present tense stays home. "Subjunctive" is like "split infinitive"; a zombie term that nobody uses correctly. Some call the irrealis I wish he were here the "past subjunctive", but others only use "subjunctive" for the infinitive in a tensed clause, like Patrick Henry's If this be treason, make the most of it.

3
  • Mighty nice of you to put in the correct answer, even if it isn't yours. No shame in it. I'd of had to if you didn't.
    – Elliot
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 3:26
  • @Elliot I made it a "community wiki," so I don't get any reputation if it gets upvoted.
    – alphabet
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 3:47
  • @@alphabet Quite appropriate, well done. I only agree with you that this is the best answer, no snarc.
    – Elliot
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 12:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.