Unit 5.2

Subjunctives

Verbs

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Introduction

Subjunctive is a verb tense that refers to actions that are possibilities rather than facts.

Form

Subjunctive has the same structure of simple present with the exception that we do not add -s at the end of the verb for the third person singular. {See Present Simple, A1 level}

When we want to use irregular verbs, we keep their basic forms, for example:

  • To be is be;
  • To have is have;
  • To go is go.

NOTE: After subjunctives there always is a that clause, where we can also omit the word that.
{See Ellipsis, B1 level}

Example

  • I demand (that) he wait on table.
  • You recommended (that) he move to another apartment.
  • He suggested (that) we eat healthier from now on.
  • Is it vital (that) they be in the farm?
  • They insisted (that) you go to take care of children.

Use

We use subjunctives to stress urgency or importance, to express desires, demands and recommendations.

  • The main verbs that we use before subjunctives are: demand, insist, recommend, suggest…;
  • The main adjectives we use before subjunctives are: essential, important,vital

NOTE: Subjunctiveis not common in Modern English and it is used only in formal situations and set phrases, such as: God save the Queen, God bless you, God help us

Summary

Subjunctive is a verb tense that refers to actions that are possibilities rather than facts. We use them to stress urgency or importance, to express desires,demands and recommendations. There are some main words that we use before subjunctive, such as: demand, insist, recommend, suggest,essential, important,vital etc.

It has the same structure with simple present, but without the -s in the third person singular. The irregular verbs keep their basic forms. After subjunctives there  is always a that clause, where we can also omit the word that.

For example:
— “He recommended (that) we reduce the sugar.” = We use the subjuncive reduce after the verb recommended.
— “It is essential (that) you become more flexible if you want to be an acrobat.” = We use the subjuncive of the irregular verb become after the adjective essential.

NOTE: Subjunctive is not common in Modern English and it is used only in formal situations and set phrases, such as: God save the Queen, God bless you, God help us

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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