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    #1

    A subjunctive mood question.

    Frank is sick and tired of selling insurance! He has been doing that for twenty-eight years. Frank wishes he sold something else.



    Here, is it better to replace sold with had sold to meet the subjunctive mood rules? Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: A subjunctive mood question.

    Hello jiaruchan,
    It's not really the subjunctive issue that's important; both sentences are correct but they mean different things. Wish + past tense is used to express a wish that hasn't come true or wish + past perfect is used to refer to things we're sorry about in the past. If you use 'sold' it means Frank wants his situation to change or be different. If you use 'had sold' it means Frank regrets that in the past he sold insurance. Since Frank's still selling insurance and is sick and tired of it, I'd chose the past continuous: He wishes he were selling something else. englishniche.com

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    #3

    Exclamation Re: A subjunctive mood question.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiaruchan View Post
    Frank is sick and tired of selling insurance! He has been doing that for twenty-eight years. Frank wishes he sold something else.



    Here, is it better to replace sold with had sold to meet the subjunctive mood rules? Thank you.
    In a contrary-to-fact statement that follows wish we use subjunctive mood in the depended clause. “Frank wishes he sold something else.” Here the statement ‘he sold something else’ is contrary-to-fact. So the verb should be subjunctive instead of being indicative “sold”.
    As suggested by bds51, “He wishes he were selling something else.”, is in the subjunctive and correct

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    #4

    Re: A subjunctive mood question.

    Quote Originally Posted by bds51 View Post
    Hello jiaruchan,
    It's not really the subjunctive issue that's important; both sentences are correct but they mean different things. Wish + past tense is used to express a wish that hasn't come true or wish + past perfect is used to refer to things we're sorry about in the past. If you use 'sold' it means Frank wants his situation to change or be different. If you use 'had sold' it means Frank regrets that in the past he sold insurance. Since Frank's still selling insurance and is sick and tired of it, I'd chose the past continuous: He wishes he were selling something else. englishniche.com
    How about : He wishes he could sell something else? Does it mean the same as 'he wishes he sold something else'? Thank you.

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    #5

    Re: A subjunctive mood question.

    Hello jiaruchan,
    Good! He wishes he could sell sth else is as good as he wishes he were/was selling sth else and it's colloquial i.e. He wishes he could (but he can't). It means the same as 'he wishes he sold sth else' but sounds a bit more natural.

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