subjunctive

The subjunctive

The subjunctive

subjunctiveThe subjunctive is a grammar form that has no plural form or past form. It is generally used when something is considered important or desirable. It is part of a highly formal style of English often referred to as ‘The Queen’s English’.

For example:

  • It is essential that every child have educational opportunities.
  • It has been suggested that the company invest in new machinery.
  • The judge recommended that the prisoner stay in prison for at least 10 years.

Note that ‘do’ is not used in the negative form:

  • It is essential that every child not have to pay for educational opportunities.
  • It has been suggested that the company not invest in new machinery until next year.
  • The judge recommended that the prisoner not stay in prison any longer

 

The verb be is slightly different to other verbs in the subjunctive, because there is a different past tense form.

  • It is important that both parties be available to sign the documents
  • I wish it were the weekend!

There are also some fixed phrases that use the subjunctive form:

  • God save the the Queen (not saves)
  • Long live the King! (not lives)
  • God bless us all (not blesses)
  • Be that as it may…
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