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Subjunctive Mood

Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood is a grammatical form used to convey hypothetical situations, express wishes, demands, or suggestions. It plays a crucial role in shaping language to articulate unreal or speculative scenarios. Here are examples and detailed explanations of the subjunctive mood:

Examples Demonstrating the Subjunctive Mood:

  1. If it were me, I'd go.

  • In this hypothetical situation, the subjunctive mood is employed. "Were" is used instead of "was" to convey a sense of unreality. This construction is often used to express unreal or unlikely conditions.

  1. I wish it were real.

  • Expressing a wish involves the use of the subjunctive mood. "Were" is preferred over "was" to convey the desired but unreal state. This usage is common when expressing desires or hopes that may not align with reality.

  1. It is imperative that the game begin at once.

  • A demand is expressed here, and the subjunctive mood is applied. "Begin" is used instead of "begins" to signify the necessity of immediate action. The subjunctive is often employed in formal contexts to convey a sense of urgency or importance.

  1. I propose he work full time.

  • A suggestion is made, utilizing the subjunctive mood. "Work" is employed instead of "works" to express the proposed action. The subjunctive is commonly used with verbs like propose, suggest, demand, and insist to convey recommendations or proposals.

Verb Changes with the Subjunctive Mood:

The table below illustrates how verbs change when in the subjunctive mood:

Normal Form

Normal Example

Subjunctive Form

Subjunctive Example

"am," "are," "is"

I am available.


I demand that I be available.


She has a chance.


I demand she have a chance.


I was free.


If I were free, I'd go.

"prepares," "works," "sings," etc.

She makes sushi.

"prepare," "work," "sing," etc. (remove the s)

I propose she make sushi.

Verbs That Attract the Subjunctive Mood:

Certain verbs commonly attract the subjunctive mood, including "to command," "to order," "to wish," "to suggest," "to recommend," "to ask," "to insist," and "to demand." These verbs are often associated with expressions of authority, desire, or necessity.

Adjectives That Attract the Subjunctive Mood:

Adjectives like "important," "necessary," "imperative," "crucial," and "essential," especially when used with "that," often prompt the use of the subjunctive mood. This usage conveys a sense of importance or urgency.

Set Phrases Featuring the Subjunctive Mood:

Certain set phrases incorporate the subjunctive mood to convey wishes or blessings, as seen in "God bless you" or "May The Force be with you." These phrases are often idiomatic expressions that have become established in language use.

Understanding and correctly applying the subjunctive mood is essential for effective communication, especially in formal and written contexts. It allows speakers and writers to articulate various nuances of language, from wishes and suggestions to demands and hypothetical scenarios.

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