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  1. #1
    confused123 is offline Newbie
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    "I suggest that he study" or "I suggest that he studies"?

    - I suggest that he study.

    Could someone explain to me why the verb "study" in the above sentence is not "studies". Could anyone give me some examples like the above which defy the rule that says something like "one person gives" and "many people give" sort of thing please? Thank you so much.

  2. #2
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Re: "I suggest that he study" or "I suggest that he studies"?

    Quote Originally Posted by confused123 View Post
    - I suggest that he study.

    Could someone explain to me why the verb "study" in the above sentence is not "studies". Could anyone give me some examples like the above which defy the rule that says something like "one person gives" and "many people give" sort of thing please? Thank you so much.
    Check out englishpage.com and use of the subjunctive.

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Re: "I suggest that he study" or "I suggest that he studies"?

    There are many threads on the subject in this forum; some of them can be found here.

    The short answer is that 'study' in your sentence is a present subjunctive form. There are several possibilities for this sentence:

    I suggest that he study. Present subjunctive. Not very common in BrE. More common in AmE
    I suggest that he studies. Present Indicative. Quite common in BrE, Considered sub-standard by some, especially some speakers of AmE.
    I suggest that he should study. Quite common in BrE.

    Note that I suggest that he studies can, in the right context, mean I suggest the idea that it may be the case that he studies.

  4. #4
    confused123 is offline Newbie
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    Re: "I suggest that he study" or "I suggest that he studies"?

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    Check out englishpage.com and use of the subjunctive.
    Yes, I did check out englishpage.com. It was from there that I couldn't understand what it says that I hope someone here could explain to me in more simple terms. I think now I am totally baffled by this in the way it is used. Now I don't know when I should be using the plural form of a verb for he or she and how to use it correctly. I really hope someone here could explain me in a more simple way. Thank you all very much.

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: "I suggest that he study" or "I suggest that he studies"?

    Quote Originally Posted by confused123 View Post
    Now I don't know when I should be using the plural form of a verb for he or she and how to use it correctly. I really hope someone here could explain me in a more simple way. Thank you all very much.
    You are using the present subjunctive form, not the plural form. I did mention this in my last post. I also provided a link to several discussions on this topic.

  6. #6
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: "I suggest that he study" or "I suggest that he studies"?

    NOT A TEACHER


    Hello, confused:

    The following is the opinion of a non-teacher and an American.

    1. In American English, most speakers use the so-called subjunctive.

    a. That is why most Americans say, "If I were the president, I would ...." (Many people, however, say,"If I WAS president, I would ....")

    2. Please study this dialogue:

    Teacher: Your son is doing very poorly in my class.
    Mother: What can he do about the problem?
    Teacher: Well, he seems to be very intelligent. I suggest that he study harder.

    a. We use the so-called subjunctive because we are not talking about reality. The teacher is only making a suggestion.

    b. Here are some more examples:

    i. Your son doesn't pay attention in my class. I recommend that he sleep a little more each night.
    ii. Mona eats too fast. (That's a fact.) I suggest that she eat more slowly. (That is not reality -- only my suggestion)
    iii. The bus always comes late. I am going to write to the bus company and demand that it come on time each day.

    3. I know that it is very difficult to understand. It is impossible to explain everything in a single post. After you have read the links that other posters have given you, please feel free to ask any questions that you have.

    4. By the way, another poster has said that occasionally a sentence similar to "I suggest that he studies too much"

    can be "correct." Why? Well, please study this dialogue:

    Mother: My son is always very tired.
    Physician (medical doctor): Does he get 8 hours of sleep every night?
    Mother: No, he studies until 11 p.m. every night.
    Physician: Well, I suggest ( = think) that he studies too much. I suggest that he go to bed earlier.


    HAVE A NICE DAY!

  7. #7
    confused123 is offline Newbie
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    Re: "I suggest that he study" or "I suggest that he studies"?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    NOT A TEACHER



    2. Please study this dialogue:

    Teacher: Your son is doing very poorly in my class.
    Mother: What can he do about the problem?
    Teacher: Well, he seems to be very intelligent. I suggest that he study harder.

    a. We use the so-called subjunctive because we are not talking about reality. The teacher is only making a suggestion.

    b. Here are some more examples:

    i. Your son doesn't pay attention in my class. I recommend that he sleep a little more each night.
    ii. Mona eats too fast. (That's a fact.) I suggest that she eat more slowly. (That is not reality -- only my suggestion)
    iii. The bus always comes late. I am going to write to the bus company and demand that it come on time each day.


    HAVE A NICE DAY!
    Thank you so much everyone, especially TheParser!

    Well TheParser, thank you so much for making this easier to understand for me compared to reading from englishpage.com. There is so much here for me to digest and I need to read up all the links posted here too. I will definitely get back to you all regarding this, after I am done reading, because it's such a fascinating topic for me.

    But one more thing TheParser. In your example, "Teacher: Well, he seems to be very intelligent. I suggest that he study harder.", can I use the BrE in this sentence like "Teacher: Well, he seems to be very intelligent. I suggest that he studies harder." and be correct as well?

    And for your other examples:
    i. Your son doesn't pay attention in my class. I recommend that he sleep a little more each night.
    ii. Mona eats too fast. (That's a fact.) I suggest that she eat more slowly. (That is not reality -- only my suggestion)
    iii. The bus always comes late. I am going to write to the bus company and demand that it come on time each day.

    Can I also use the BrE or simple the present indicative as shown below and be correct as well:
    i. Your son doesn't pay attention in my class. I recommend that he sleeps a little more each night.
    ii. Mona eats too fast. (That's a fact.) I suggest that she eats more slowly. (That is not reality -- only my suggestion)
    iii. The bus always comes late. I am going to write to the bus company and demand that it comes on time each day.

    Please advise me. Thank you so much. By the way, are the present subjunctive form and present indicative form the same thing but used in a different way? To me, it seems like the present subjunctive form simply takes away the 's' in the verb whereas the present indicative remains true to the way I learned English in my school days. Can I use the present indicative instead of the subjunctive form in all the examples you provided in your earlier post? Any difference?

    Thank you so much.

  8. #8
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: "I suggest that he study" or "I suggest that he studies"?

    Not a teacher

    check out The Subjunctive

    Michael Swan, Pratical English Usage (567) Subjunctive

    Some languages have special verb forms called 'Subjunctive', which are used especially to talk about 'unreal situations': things which are possible, desirable or imgainary. Older English had subjunctives, but in modern English they have mostly been replaced by uses of should, would and other modal verbs, by special uses of past tenses and by ordinary verb forms. English only has a few subjunctive forms left: third-person singular present verbs without-(e)s, (e.g. she see, he have)......
    Last edited by Winwin2011; 02-Aug-2012 at 07:50.

  9. #9
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    Re: "I suggest that he study" or "I suggest that he studies"?

    Quote Originally Posted by confused123 View Post
    But one more thing TheParser. In your example, "Teacher: Well, he seems to be very intelligent. I suggest that he study harder.", can I use the BrE in this sentence like "Teacher: Well, he seems to be very intelligent. I suggest that he studies harder." and be correct as well?
    Not many would object to that in BrE. If you are learning AmE, then use the subjunctive form.

  10. #10
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: "I suggest that he study" or "I suggest that he studies"?

    NOT A TEACHER


    Thank you very much for your kind remarks.

    1. I do not dare comment on British English. I am still trying to learn American English. I believe that 5jj, a British

    gentleman, has answered some of your questions.

    2. Yes, as the British say, you are spot on: the so-called present subjunctive is simply the third-person indicative

    minus the "s."

    a. I do not know what your native language is, but does it have a distinctive subjunctive form? I have been trying to

    learn Spanish, and I can tell you that the subjunctive in Spanish is very much alive!
    Last edited by TheParser; 06-Aug-2012 at 18:24.

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