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Thread: Subjunctive

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    #1

    Subjunctive

    "We cannot accept that you are the owner of the ideas and creations born from the collaboration."

    I would've written "that you be." I think the subjunctive is necessary here. What do you think?

    Thanks!

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    #2

    Re: Subjunctive

    Apart from fossilised expressions, I don't use the present subjunctive and the original sounds fine to me. (BrE speaker)

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    #3

    Re: Subjunctive

    NOT A TEACHER

    (1) I am delighted to share with you the views of one expert. (IF I understood him correctly.)

    (2) Mr. Wilson Follett in "Modern American Usage" makes this point:

    "Accept," unlike most verbs denoting a mental process, is ill at ease with a substantive [noun]
    clause. He feels the gerund is proper. He says that a "that" clause after "accept" is not idiomatic.

    (3) He might (I think) prefer:

    We cannot accept your being the owner of the ideas and creations born from the collaboration.

    (4) Furthermore, he says that if a writer insists on a "that clause," she COULD use that "overworked

    locution" [his words] One accepts ... the fact that.

    (a) So I guess (guess) that he might approve of:

    We cannot accept the fact that you are .... (But he says that this would only make sense if the writer is

    actually referring to a FACT.)

    (5) If I understand your sentence, X (the person whom you are addressing) wishes to be the owner of the

    ideas. He is NOT, in fact, the owner at this time. So I can understand why you are thinking about the

    beloved subjunctive. But maybe "accept" does not take the subjunctive. So maybe you would have to

    express the idea something like:

    We cannot accept your wish/desire to be the owner ..../ We cannot accept your wanting / wishing to be the owner ....

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Subjunctive

    The subjunctive, even for those who still use it, is not appropriate here.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen165 View Post
    "We cannot accept that you are the owner of the ideas and creations born from the collaboration."

    I would've written "that you be." I think the subjunctive is necessary here. What do you think?

    Thanks!
    No, that would have to be in the subjunctive in many languages, but not in English.
    With the indicative, it means "We don't believe it", which is possibly what you mean.

    With the subjunctive, it means "We can't accept that you be/become the owner ..." But this would be phrased differently by most people. Maybe, "We cannot allow a situation where you become accepted as being the owner of the ideas ..."
    If you wanted to use the subjunctive, "We cannot accept that you be credited with the ownership of the ideas ..." This one sounds fine to me. But few people would insist on the subjunctive as long as your meaning was clear.

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    #6

    Re: Subjunctive

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Allen, how about this sentence?

    We cannot accept your demand/wish/desire that you be the sole owner of the ideas and creations born from our collaboration.


    (I hear that the "British subjunctive" often includes "should." Thus:

    Your demand that you should be ....)

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