In Grammar By Victoria

The use of the subjunctive in English

This article is a continuation of the theme «The subjunctive mood in English.» In the first article we found out what the subjunctive, and what form it has. Now we have to define, and when and where it is used the inclination. To correctly use the subjunctive in English, you need a good understanding of the structure of a complex sentence and know their types. This cmozhete you will soon read in an article titled «subordinate proposals in the English language.» As we remember, in the English language, there are two forms of the subjunctive Subjunctive I and Subjunctive II. The first type includes simple forms of the subjunctive, and the second — complicated. That is a classification we consider the use of the subjunctive in English.

Use of Subjunctive I

Simple forms of the subjunctive in English is required:

  1. The paranasal conditional sentences in the English language, which express the unreal condition (a condition that can not be performed). In this case the form of the simple past tense (Past Simple) corresponds to the events of the (future tense), and the form of the past perfect tense (Past Perfect) — events of the past.
  2. If I were you, I should (would) do this work. — If I were in your place, I would have done the job.

    If she had not been busy yesterday, she would have spoken to him. — If it was not busy yesterday, she would have talked to him.

  3. The paranasal additional proposals after the verb wish, which regrets the unfulfilled actions. In this case, use of the subjunctive in English according to the present time, if we have a form of Past Subjunctive, and elapsed time using Perfect Subjunctive.
  4. I wish I knew how to handle it. — I’m sorry I do not know how to deal with it.

    I wish I had known how to do it. — I wish I knew how to do it.

  5. In subordinate clauses with the circumstance of manner, which entered the unions as if (as if), and as though (as if). Concurrent with the events of the main proposals is to express a form of Past Simple (the action is unlikely), and for the events preceding the main clause responsible form of Past Perfect (action unrealistic).
  6. She looked at me as if she saw me for the first time. — She looked at me as if seen for the first time.

    She spoke English so well as though she had been to England. — She spoke good English, as if she had been in England.

  7. The proposals from such expressions as it’s (high) time (high time / long overdue), and if only (if).
  8. It’s about time you knew how to behave. — It’s time to let you know how to behave.

    If only I had know it then. — If only I knew it then.

The use of the subjunctive in English is also implied in simple (often exclamatory sentences).

If he had some spare time! — If then he had some free time!

Colloquially used construction «you (he) had better + infinitive basis.» This is nothing but a form of Past Subjunctive. We translate it with the phrase «you (he) would be better.»

You’d better stay here for some days. — You’d better stay here for a few days.

Use of Subjunctive II

When you want to use the subjunctive in English with the presence of complex (analytical) form? The following are the appropriate cases:

  1. Use this inclination in additional subject sentences after expression it is (was) strange / necessary / important / impossible / unlikely / essential / a pity / a shame, which translates as «strange, essential, important, it is impossible, it is unlikely, sure, sorry» .
  2. It’s important that they should have finished the work. — It is important that they are done.

    It’s necessary that students should take part in all kinds of competitions. — It is necessary for students to participate in all competitions.

  3. The subjunctive mood of the second type, we also meet in additional supplementary proposals after the verb to suggest / to recommend / to demand / to insist / to order / to command (to offer, to recommend, to demand, to insist, ordering).
  4. He ordered that the boy should be sent home at once. — He ordered the boy sent home immediately.

    She suggested that we should not show the unfinished work. — It is proposed that we do not show unfinished work.

    They insisted that we should present the pupils’ best works at the festival. — They insisted that we presented at the festival of the best works of students.

    Please note that in the scientific, political literature, as well as in American English may be the subjunctive with the «naked» infinitive omitting the auxiliary verb and the particle should to.

    It’s desirable that she be at the studio at five. — It is desirable that it be in the studio to five.

    They demanded that we record the song a second time. — They asked us to record a song for the second time.

  5. In subordinate clauses after verbs to think / to believe / to consider / to fear / to worry (to think, to believe, to believe fear experience) will also stand the subjunctive:
  6. They consider it strange she sould want to be a teacher. — They think it strange that she wants to be a teacher.

    I feared that I should disturb them. — I was afraid to disturb them.

  7. In the main sentence with subordinate concessive who introduced such as the British associations if, even though, there is room for ifs:
  8. If he even talked to the others, he would be misunderstood. — Even if he had talked to others, he would not understand.

  9. The subjunctive mood we meet and conditional sentences, which is used instead of subordinate turnover but for, has a negative value.
  10. But for Tom, I would not finish my work. — If it were not for Tom, I would not have finished his work.

    Finally, the use of the subjunctive in English can be seen in simple sentences and exclamation (interrogative) sentence with the word why / how / who.

    It would be a great pleasure to help her. — It would be a great pleasure to help her.

    How should he know about it? — How would he know that?

As we can see the content of the article, the topic of the subjunctive mood is extensive enough and not so simple. A lot of information, as occurrences of mood too much. Of course, you do not remember the whole theory, but learn this inclination may be, if you constantly work on writing the necessary structure. As they say, practice, practice and more practice.

Take the test «The test for the subjunctive in English» to secure the material.



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