The past subjunctive form of 'be' is 'were'. The past tense indicative form of 'be' is 'was. From this we can safely say that 'was' is no subjunctive.
Pure modal auxiliaries have one (others say two) forms. When no change takes place in form, we can only guess at from the meaning whether subjunctive is used.
As I have already suggested, there are several factors that play a role in the speaker's choice of inflectional system.
Well, Corum (and Pokemon and lauralie),
I don't think I have anything else to say - I have repeated myself enough already.
We will have to agree to differ, though our differences are, I feel, far smaller than may have appeared at first.
I still feel personally that to speak of should as a subjunctive form is pointless, but I have accepted that it is logically possible to consider should, in some utterances, to be a subjunctive form.
Unless you come up with some startling new revelation, I shall take my leave.
Thanks for the interesting discussion.
My dear colleagues, I never wrote that I consider 'should' as a subjunctive form in the sentence being discussed. Let me state my position on the issue. First of all, modality can be expressed both grammatically (through different of moods) and lexically (through modal verbs, expressions, etc.). Grammar deals with classes of word-forms, lexicology - with individual words. What is 'should' in the construction 'Should you ..., let me know' - a modal verb or a mood auxiliary? Among its various meanings 'should' has an epistemic one, which finds expression in this very sentence. A mood is a tool for expressing modality. Since the modal meaning is already expressed lexically, through a modal verb, what do we need a mood for? Let me show you a context where 'should' is used as a mood auxiliary: "I demand that the letter should be sent at once". Here 'should' correlates with the form 'be sent' (I demand that the letter be sent at once) which can easily be substituted for it without changing the meaning of the sentence in any way. And on this pattern we can create thousands of different sentences, which means that here we deal with a grammatical category and not an individual lexical unit. Therefore, 'should' in the latter sentence is a mood auxiliary. Which mood? The imperative one expressed by the word-forms classified as belonging to the Old Subjunctive. I suggested at the beginning of the discussion that you state your position on what is modality and mood, etc. But you said that those were too theoretical issues and quoted some primitive definitions contained in practical English grammars not intended as sources for such debates at all.
Well, I am back again, though not for the original discussion, but to respond to a couple of points Pokemon made.
It was in post 9.
"Do you believe that modality can be expressed both grammatically and lexically or only grammatically?
In a wider sense of the word modality, yes. However, the original question was The problem to be discussed is whether 'should' is a subjunctive form or not when it's used in a construction like "Should you change your mind, let me know". I fear that we may get sidetracked into a discusssion on modality. This might not be totally irrelevant, but I hope we can all stick closely to discussing the original question.
I'll take a break now until others have had a chance to catch up. Back tomorrow. "
If you feel that you can say of this, "you said that those were too theoretical issues", then we are speaking different languages.
Incidentally, you said in post #35 "I suggested at the beginning of the discussion that you state your position on what is modality and mood, etc." What you actually said at the beginning (post #1) was: "The problem to be discussed is whether 'should' is a subjunctive form or not when it's used in a construction like "Should you change your mind, let me know". To decide whether A belongs to class B, we need: 1)To describe the characteristics of class B; 2) To prove that A has or doesn't have those characteristics."
In Post #8, i.e. not at the beginning of the discussion, you asked Corum and me to answer a question (your own words); you did not present it as a suggestion. : "Would you please answer the following question: Do you believe that modality can be expressed both grammatically and lexically or only grammatically? By the way, according to protocol, forum members following the discussion are welcome to ask questions to the opponents."
In post #9, I answered that question briefly.
I enjoyed the discussion with Corum, but I foresee no enjoyment in further explanation of what you and I said or did not say, so I shall leave you for other things.
I'd like to thank all those who took part in the discussion. It was a most enjoyable conversation. I'm sorry for Mr. Fivejedjon who left a little upset but that seems to be his way. Look forward to having more debates in the future.