Possible Duplicate:
When should I use the subjunctive mood?

I have often come across constructions such as the one highlighted below and wondered how to explain the grouping of a third person singular subject with a plural verb.

I thought it was important that he say it in his own voice.

My question is about the subject-verb agreement. If I'm not mistaken, the above sentence has two clauses: 1) I thought it was important 2) that he say it in his own voice

How does the subject in the second clause, he, agree with the plural verb say? Shouldn't it be says since he is the third person singular?

Another example can be:

Personally, I'd recommend that he speak in public as soon as possible.

I am curious to know how these constructions are not rare despite seeming ungrammatical.

  • 2
    Missed the duplicate because I didn't know to search for subjunctive mood.
    – user32480
    Jan 5 '13 at 15:41
  • They do not “seem ungrammatical”. Not using them, however, does.
    – tchrist
    Jan 5 '13 at 16:00