Questions tagged [subjunctive-mood]

Questions regarding the subjunctive verb mood

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indicative vs subjunctive in terms of conveying meaning

In A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (page 156), the book gives these examples for WERE-SUBJUNCTIVE (for showing the structural differences between indicative vs subjunctive ...
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when the result is unknown for a past counterfactual situation

We normally use the third conditional for describing past counterfactual situations. We use it when we're sure about the occurrence or non-occurrence of both the condition and the result clause (more ...
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The subjunctive: The ever-present confusion between tense and wish

I've been an editor for many years. I have the following question because it's so utterly frustrating: Am I plain wrong, have people changed their ideas about acceptable usage, or are people just ...
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Varying modal verbs in counterfactual (“subjunctive”) conditionals

There are some situations in which one would like to vary the modal verb in counterfactual conditionals, but it seems to be incorrect. "If things were otherwise, she would keep her promise."...
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if he be and subjunctive mood

A man may live a very intense life if he be passionately devoted to field-sports or beetles. I am guessing the if he be passionately devoted to field-sports or beetles. is a subjunctive clause, ...
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Should I use subjunctive or indicative mood after “makes it possible that”?

I am editing a text in analytical philosophy, and I came across the following sentence: Such a mechanism for a term’s designation makes it possible that the idea designated by the term be distinct ...
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Subjunctive vs. indicative with conditionals

I was reading this topic from March 2014 and thought Charles’s answer was great until I got to the following part: The letter claimed exactly the same as the first, namely that if his letter wasn't ...
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Other than “to be”, what verbs in English change in the subjunctive past tense?

I recently found out that the reason we say ”if I were...” and not “if I was...” (though some argue both are correct) is because “to be” is irregular in the subjunctive past. Are there any other verbs ...
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To know vs Would know

Mary: "Does he have any enemies here?" Bill: "Not that I know of." or Bill: "Not that I would know of." Is there a difference in meaning between the two answers Bill ...
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The meaning of the sentence “Fortunately/Wisely, she consults her lawyer regularly.”

In Quirk's A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language Section 8.128 (page 624): it says Fortunately/Wisely, she consults her lawyer regularly. [1] = It is fortunate/wise that she consult(s)/...
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could have done it [closed]

I really could have done it, if you had come earlier. I could really have done it, if you had come earlier. I could have really done it, if you had come earlier. I could have done it really, if you ...
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45 views

Does the main clause determine everything?

If the clause is If I disturbed you: If I disturbed you, I am sorry. If I disturbed you, I would give you money. Both of them use the past tense of disturb in the 'if-clause' According to the ...
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Subjunctive Mood with the Type 3 Conditional or “could with the perfect infinitive” expressing ability, theoretical possibility, etc. in the past

From NBC news’s ‘Breakthrough finding’ reveals why certain Covid-19 patients die: "Before Covid, their condition was silent," Bastard said. "Most of them hadn't gotten sick before.&...
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subjunctive followed by indicative

I have a question about the use of the subjunctive in this sentence: If all the schools were to implement this program, which now exists only in the lower grades, then five years from now we will not ...
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Why is “be” in “this court rules he be put on probation” an infinitive?

I was watching an old movie, The Little Rascals, and one of the lines from a kid goes: Your Honor, may I suggest... this court rules he be put on probation. I am not sure if be is in infinitive form ...
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Consecutio modorum: Do “that” clauses follow an irreal subjunctive in the parent clause?

Does English have a “sequence of moods” rule? Should the blanks be filled in by was or were? If we knew that it ___ raining, we would also know that the street ___ wet. That is, are the irreal ...
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Is it correct to say 'I wish some magic happens'? [closed]

Another read I come across in which a guy has written, "I wish you could see that young restless orphan who has no house to live in, none to get food from, whose pshychological centre has been ...
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Is 'would have' always the third conditional?

a. No Stone Age ten-year-old would have been living on tender foods like modern potato chips, hamburgers, and pasta. Their meals would have required far more chewing than is ever demanded of a modern ...
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Is “Had you anything”, as a whole sentence, grammatically correct? [duplicate]

I saw someone said "Had you anyone specific in mind" in an old English drama. How am I supposed to understand this sentence?
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108 views

Should V.S May in subjunctive mood

I was doing a grammar exercise the other day and was confused by the key to this question. He’s working hard for fear that he _____. should fall behind fell behind may fall behind would fallen behind ...
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Sequence of Moods (Subjunctive)

I asked a question a while ago ("If I asked, would she say it were/was time?" Past Vs. Subjunctive) about “sequence of moods” whose top answer read, Fowler says the past simple is used in ...
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The Present (Concessive) Subjunctive (Whether/If It Be) in Past Tense Cases

Did the present, concessive subjunctive (“if it be the case”; “whether it be the case”) ever have a place in past-tense sentences? To my understanding, the subjunctive “were” and the conditionals in ...
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Should it be “didn't think it was” or “didn't think it were”?

I know that scenarios contrary to fact should be in the subjunctive mood, but ones that we are uncertain of can use past tense. For example, "If I were you..." vs "I don't know if I was ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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“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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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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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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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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“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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