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Thread: English Grammar

  1. Gilles
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    #1

    Exclamation English Grammar

    Dear Teacher.
    English is not my mother tongue since I am a francophone. I am experiencing difficulties with respect to the subjonctive. I would appreciate your reviewing and correcting the following sentences for me.
    First example:
    "It is important that the wine is not chilled" or would it be preferable to say:
    "It is important that the wine should not be chilled " ?
    Second example:
    present tense: It is important for me that I improve my english.
    pas tense: Last year I suggested to my son that he impove(D)(*) his english
    (*) is the "improved" written correctly ?
    Thank you very much for your time.
    My e-mail address is
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    • Join Date: Jan 2006
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    #2

    Re: English Grammar

    I am not an English native speaker, either. But As far as I know

    It is important that the wine not be chilled
    It is important that the wine (should) not be chilled
    -------------------------------------------------
    It is important for me that I improve my english.
    pas tense: Last year I suggested to my son that he improve his english.

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by lhn; 11-Mar-2006 at 22:36.

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
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    #3

    Re: English Grammar

    The subjunctive is dying out in English. In British English it survives in the expression "If I were...", but even that is now being replaced by "If I was..."

    The subjunctive has survived a bit better in American English, but is on the way out there, too. All of the sentences so far mentioned -- by you and lhn -- are acceptable, but the subjunctive ("...the wine not be chilled...", "...he improve...") is probably considered more correct in American English. Bill Bryson, in Troublesome Words, asserts that after verbs of command or request, the subjunctive is the only correct form and that the British always get it wrong, but I think he's overstating the case. He suggests that using the "should" construction is a good solution to the problem.

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