Questions tagged [subjunctive-mood]

Questions regarding the subjunctive verb mood

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Shall & Should & the “Mandative Subjunctive”

I came across this distinction between shall and will in Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage: That-clauses after intend or intention, desire, demand, be anxious, &c., have shall & ...
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41 views

Anyone would think he owns the place

Consider these sentences, please: You would think he is a good father, but he isn't. Anyone would think he owns the place, from the way he talks! (he doesn't own) Can I replace the indicative verbs ...
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Past Subjunctive Sentence

If we started now we would be in time (but we cannot start now) This is an example sentence in my grammar book for past subjunctive used after If. The sentence sounds to me a suggestion rather than ...
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2answers
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Which of these sentence is correct? subjunctive or not?

“Unless he be mean, I will help him.” “Unless he is mean, I will help him.” Do we use the subjunctive mood? What are the verbs that require this mood? Is “unless” always followed by this mood? (Not a ...
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3answers
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Subjunctive Mood in Past Tense, Historical, Narratives

I have a question about use of the subjunctive in past tense narratives. The quoted passage is from Keith Thomas’s Religion and the Decline of Magic, a sort of cultural history of England in the ...
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Subjunctive Conditionals in the Past Tense

Is a sentence such as the one that follows grammatical and logical: I was worried I would have lost a letter grade if I were to hand in the paper late. I know the subjunctive, being a mood, can be ...
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18 views

Subjunctive and Ellipsis/Syllepsis

Reading Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage, I came across this sentence under “subjunctive mood:” “It was as if Sally were disturbed in some way and was translating this disturbance into the ...
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Second-Level Conditional and the Subjunctive

Does the second-level conditional such as, “If I studied harder, I would do better on the test,” derive from the subjunctive? Or does it belong to its own “tense” (or perhaps “mood”) in the English ...
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39 views

Are the teachers' answers to this assignment wrong?

I answered this assignment to the best of my abilities, but I feel the "official" answers are incorrect in some places. It's a multiple choice questionnaire. I am sure that Huston Rockets ___ the ...
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44 views

Irrealis “were” following “as if”

Is the subjunctive “were” in the sentence, “He seems as if he were spell-bound,” construed as counterfactual? Does it always preclude truth, or does it only here suggest that it was highly improbable ...
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“if… were to…” form can only be used with unlikely but “possible” conditions, not for “impossible” conditions?

I am confused over the difference using "were to" and past forms in conditionals. Was told that "were to" is only for unlikely but "possible" conditions but past form is for impossible/fantastical. ...
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Subjunctive after certain verbs

I remember a grammatical rule when I learned English that some verbs such suggest, assume, suppose, and so on, require verbs after them be in subjunctive form. For examples, We suggest that she be ...
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You'd rather us be dead

You'd rather us be dead How should this sentence be analyzed and parsed? Is it different from "You'd rather we were dead"?
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How can I describe an assumption of a past event? [closed]

Assume that Alice took an exam last week and she got its result yesterday. So she knows whether she passed the exam or not. Now here is Bob. He does not know the result of Alice's exam yet. And Bob ...
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3answers
90 views

“Were to have” vs. “had” / conditionals in reported speech

Scenario: I, Paul, arrive at my office in the morning, only to find I have been given an assignment I will definitely have to work overtime to finish today (that's the deadline) without an assistant. ...
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When to use 'would' properly in a novel

I am a little confused about the usage of 'would' in fiction-writing/translation. So, here's a very simple example that confuses me. "Why did you say that?" she asked. -- (my version) "Why would ...
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Can subjunctive mood come after the adjective 'customary?'

It's from a standard test and they do not reveal their test item so I can't remember the exact sentence itself but it was like as follows. It is customary that the winner ________ a bottle of milk in ...
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Is “was” in the subjunctive mood here, needing to be changed to “were”?

My question pertains to the following: Mother knocked on the door because she said the bell might wake up the baby if he was asleep. Should was be changed to were here? Thanks!
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Again, “if it wasn't” or “if it weren't”?

I have read a lot of information about this topic, but I still don't know why my book says that the answer is "wasn't" in the following sentence: If the driving test ___________ so difficult, there ...
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Why is “were” used in the highlighted relative clause?

Thank you for taking interest in this question. I have attached below the context of the clause in question to help your understanding. A full version of the question would be: Why were, instead of ...
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2answers
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Does the highlighted sentence use the Subjunctive mood?

I cannot fathom why were is used in the below highlighted sentence. Why can it be used in this way? I have got suggestions that this sentence is typical of the subjunctive mood to hypothetically ...
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A question regarding “Doe behaves as if he was / is the principal.”

I got a few questions regarding this sentence: "Doe behaves as if he was / is the principal." I know that if the speaker chose "was," it means the speaker knows Doe is not the principal. Now, ...
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Uncommon subjunctive inversion in a negative clause in the pluperfect: “had not millions been swept away”

Voters in 2008 would have seen he didn’t measure up then, had not millions been swept away with emotion and wish-fulfillment. (source) This line reads odd even jarring to me with a weird inversion ...
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Is subjunctive usage justified here?

Context: One (younger one) of the father's sons furtively watches his dad trying to do a mediocre enough back flip but he generally never ever has tried doing it, couple of seconds later his older ...
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24 views

Which tense should I use in the following sentence

I would be very happy in my job if I earned a large salary I will be very happy in my job if I earn a large salary I would be very happy if I earn a large salary I guess the first sentence is ...
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It seems unlikely that… plus subjunctive?

So I'm writing a piece that includes the sentence It seems highly unlikely that every professional psychiatrist were/would be a puppet of the pharmaceutical industry. The problem is, I can't ...
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1answer
47 views

Shakespeare’s Subjunctive

Shakespeare’s Macbeth famously says, “If it were done, when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well it were done quickly,” which I rearranged, according to my understanding, as, “‘Twere well it were done quickly, ...
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47 views

“will have to” in a past tense clause

We decided that we would have to stay at home. We decided that we will have to stay at home. Which one of the above is right? My grammar knowledge told me the first one, but how do we ...
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26 views

Usage of “expectation that” + to be

I was writing something recently and was troubled by this specific use of expectation that + to be. I ended up not being sure which of the possibilities below are grammatically acceptable in written ...
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1answer
63 views

Can a verb inside an “it's possible that”-clause governing an if-clause be in the subjunctive/bare infinitive form?

An ESL student of mine wrote: If they don't act quickly, it's possible that new diseases appear. I could mark it as 'off style' on the grounds that [will] is the usual tense for said verb but I ...
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word usage in academic writing - possesses, beyond, ability [closed]

Could you help me to check if this sentence is ok? Beyond having similar osmosis potential to polymer sponges, it is desirable that the covering material possesses the ability of being dispersed by ...
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147 views

“Be allowed” vs “is allowed” [duplicate]

Which of the following is grammatically correct? It is important that the bandwidth, which controls the function, be allowed to vary... or It is important that the bandwidth, which controls the ...
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1answer
60 views

omission of should in that clause

I know that the following sentences are both correct with and without "should." It is strange that he should be angry. It is strange that he be angry. How about these? It is strange that he should ...
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60 views

A literary structure

Prais’d be the fathomless universe, For life and joy, and for objects and knowledge curious, Does the first sentence means "praise is for fathomless universe"? Is it an old structure?
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How can there be any indicative if-clauses?

As far as I know, if-clauses always describe theoretical situations. Sometimes the theory is very obvious and self-evident, but it remains a theory. So how can we use the indicative in if-clauses all ...
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1answer
69 views

Was v were, subjunctive or not [duplicate]

I have tried researching this topic on grammarly and on this website ("Was" or "were" in subjunctive clauses), but still am unsure. Which is correct? His gaze turned up, as if ...
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Opportunities such as this didn't come everyday. Is this subjunctive mood?

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 ...
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2answers
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What form is the “be” in “be that as it may”?

I have a feeling that this may be the dreaded (at least for me) subjunctive. But I'm really hoping it can be analyzed as the imperative instead. I am hoping I can use this expression to help explain a ...
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Why “past subjunctive” has this name if it is used for the present? [closed]

Why "past subjunctive" has this (confusing) name if it is used for hypothetical situations and wishes that take place in the present and the Past Perfect is the tense used in such contexts in the past?...
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1answer
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Here There Be Dragons

The following is an excerpt from the August 12 New York Times. What does the headline “Here There Be Dragons” mean? Here There Be Dragons. But Can They Survive an Invasion of Tourists? KOMODO ...
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American English. Please help me identify the correct form of 'become' in the following sentence: [duplicate]

I'm sure we'd all rather I became a bit more self-sufficient. Using became feels right, but I would appreciate anyone who could explain what's going on grammatically here. I think become is in the ...
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65 views

Which would be appropriate accepts or accept

thanks in advance for answering the following question. I am trying to figure out which one would be correct. I am in process of writing documentation on a technical subject and I was asked to replace ...
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1answer
50 views

Make a guess about historic events

I am wondering what's the right structure to make a speculation about a past event. I have a GRE writing in which I've put forth a few speculations which could weaken the argument. I've tried to use a ...
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He promised him a noble title if Andalucia was/were conquered

I want to choose "were" because Andalucia hasn't been conquered yet - it's a hypothetical scenario calling for subjunctive. However, I see that "promised" is in past tense. If the sentence were: "He ...
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7answers
782 views

How did “to wish that” come to hate the present tense in the subordinate clauses it governs, and why is it alone in this?

Inspired by this earlier question, I've realized that we have no canonical question addressing the stranglely one-of-a-kind special grammatical rules demanded by the verb wish of its subordinate ...
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2answers
298 views

He wished he would have met her

I do know that the much better construction is "he wished he had met her a year before", but is the construction "he wished he would have met her a year before" acceptable?
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Difference between “I wish…<verb in past simple>” and “I wish…would+<verb infinitive>”

What is the difference of meaning between the 2 expressions below which use the subjunctive? I wish he didn't speak so loud. I wish he wouldn't speak so loud. I cannot see the difference between "I ...
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Is it correct to invert, “If I could fly, I would …” into, “Could I fly, I would …?”

I know that, "If he should ask about me, ..." can be inverted into, "Should he ask about me, ..." But I am not sure if it works to invert, "If I could fly, I would ..." into, "Could I fly, I would ...?...
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Ellipsis related to subjunctive mood? [closed]

You Sunk My Carrier: How the Navy Could Sink China's New Aircraft Carriers That means war. Here's how it goes down. by James Holmes National Interest.org Although It is certain that an event is ...
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What is the sense of “Only God judge me”

There is a wall near my house where this phrase has recently been graffitied - Only God judge me My reaction to this (!) has been to realise that most similarly-constructed phrases I can think of ...

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