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    #1

    Question about subjunctive

    Hello, teachers
    I would like someone to give me the right answer concerning subjunctive.

    1)- The teacher insists that she be on time.

    Here we are talking about present subjunctive so that the sentence is correct. But what if we have the past subjunctive, the sentence would be ..

    1)a- The teacher insisted that she be on time.

    Or

    1)-b The teacher insisted that she were on time.

    I know that the form of subjunctive is "the simple form of the verb".But I need to know if "to be " is an exception ro not ?

    Thank you very mutch in advance (especially TheParser )

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    #2

    Re: Question about subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by abdoss View Post
    Hello, teachers
    I would like someone to give me the right answer concerning subjunctive.

    1)- The teacher insists that she be on time.

    Here we are talking about present subjunctive so that the sentence is correct. But what if we have the past subjunctive, the sentence would be ..

    1)a- The teacher insisted that she be on time.

    Or

    1)-b The teacher insisted that she were on time.

    I know that the form of subjunctive is "the simple form of the verb".But I need to know if "to be " is an exception ro not ?

    Thank you very mutch in advance
    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********

    Hello, Abdoss.

    (1) I hope that some of the wonderful teachers will answer you.

    (2) I, too, find the subjunctive very confusing.

    (3) According to Grammar in Use by Mr. Raymond Murphy, you may

    use the subjunctive for the present, past, or future.

    (a) Here are his insist examples:

    They insisted that we have dinner with them.

    I insisted that he have dinner with me.

    I insist that you come with us.

    They insisted that I go with them.

    I insisted that something be done [passive] about the problem.

    *****

    MAYBE !!! The correct answer is (a) The teacher insisted that she be

    on time. (That is what I think, but I could easily be wrong.)

    *****

    TWO IMPORTANT POINTS:

    1. Mr. Murphy's book is based on American English. Maybe our

    British friends have a different idea about the subjunctive.

    2. Insist does not always take the subjunctive:

    The teacher insisted that Martha was late. = Martha said that she was on

    time. The teacher said: No way!!! You were absolutely, definitely late!!!





    Please keep posting subjunctive questions as often as you like. There are

    many people here who understand the subjunctive, and they will give you

    excellent answers.

    Thank you

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    #3

    Re: Question about subjunctive

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

    Abdoss:

    I just found this in Robert J. Dixson's Everyday English for Advanced Foreign Students:

    "He insistED that I BE there at noon."

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    #4

    Re: Question about subjunctive

    I also was taught it as TheParser says. But that's not why I'm posting - only to double TheParser's information.

    I have a question. I've always wondered if the following sentence is a correct English sentence, if it means anything:

    The teacher insists that she were late.

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    #5

    Re: Question about subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post

    The teacher insists that she were late.
    No, that's not correct grammar.

    The teacher insisted [made the firm statement] she was late, even though she was on-time. Fortunately, the security cameras showed what time she entered the school and the teacher was proven wrong.

    It's a different form of "insist" -- it's not the requirement that leads to the subjunctive (although I suppose a very odd teacher might require you to be late), but the firm statement of a believe.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #6

    Re: Question about subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    No, that's not correct grammar.

    The teacher insisted [made the firm statement] she was late, even though she was on-time. Fortunately, the security cameras showed what time she entered the school and the teacher was proven wrong.

    It's a different form of "insist" -- it's not the requirement that leads to the subjunctive (although I suppose a very odd teacher might require you to be late), but the firm statement of a believe.
    OK, so the past subjunctive after "insist" and the like is syntactically wrong, right?

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    #7

    Re: Question about subjunctive

    Right. After words like insisted (ordered, demanded, required, etc.), the subjunctive is formed with the bare infinitive of the verb.

    She ordered we have lunch at 12:21 on the dot, we demanded that we be seated immediately, she insisted we take our own cars, etc.

    Even "God bless you" (said after someone sneezes) is technically the subjunctive. I require God to bless you. (Sort of odd if you think about it.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.


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    #8

    Re: Question about subjunctive

    First I would like to thank everyone participated.(Especially my friend TheParser)

    I promise you(TheParser) that I will serach to search more about the subjenctive.
    Even if it doesn't seem,at least to me, very confusing.

    I posted that question because I'm not sure if "to be" is an exception of the following rule:

    Use the simple form of the verb. The simple form is the infinitive without the "to." The simple form of the verb "to go" is "go."

    Examples:
    • I suggest that he study.
    • Is it essential that we be there?
    • Don recommended that you join the committee.
    ----------------------

    Concerning the sentence :

    "The teacher insists that she were late"
    The reason why I see the sentence incorrect is that:

    *If the purpose of the sentence is to emphasize her absence,then we have to use 'subjunctive'.But the tense of subjunctive in this sentence is present tense (The teacher insists ) so that we must use the simple form of verb "to be " wich is "be".Therefoe the sentence would be (The teacher insists that she be late).
    *if we we are talking about past subjunctive,then the sentence woud be either "The teacher insisted that she were late" (Here I supposed that 'to be ' isn't an exception of subjunctive form) or "The teacher insisted that she be late" ( here "to be " is not an exception).If you wonder why I used "were" insted of "was" I answer saying that we dont use "was" in condition and subjunctive such as ( wish ,condition type 2..)
    One more thing, all what I have said above could be right or wrong.I am not a teacher nor a native speaker.Moreover English is the third lnaguage in my country ..But I will strive to grasp the subjunctive and post other question about it as my friend TheParser asked.
    In the end, special thanks to all participants in this conversation.


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    #9

    Re: Question about subjunctive

    Sorry Barb_D I didn't notice your reply.

    I think, I get the right answer.It's similar to what Barb_D has said.

    Normlaly the past subjunctive of "to be " is " were"

    But we use it only after :
    if >>>>>If Iwere you,I would travel now.
    as if >>>It's not as if I were ugly.
    wish >>> I wish I were a rich man.
    suppose>>> suppose you were a rich man, what would you do.

    Concerning the right answer to the given question.

    1)a- The teacher insisted that she be on time. This one is correct.

    This is more accepted in American English.In British the following structure is often used :

    Should+Infinitive >>>The teacher insisted that she should be on time.

    (If I'm wrong the English teachers or at least native speakers will mention that)

    Take care .....

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    #10

    Re: Question about subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by abdoss View Post
    Sorry Barb_D I didn't notice your reply.

    I think, I get the right answer.It's similar to what Barb_D has said.

    Normlaly the past subjunctive of "to be " is " were"

    But we use it only after :
    if >>>>>If Iwere you,I would travel now.
    as if >>>It's not as if I were ugly.
    wish >>> I wish I were a rich man.
    suppose>>> suppose you were a rich man, what would you do.

    Concerning the right answer to the given question.

    1)a- The teacher insisted that she be on time. This one is correct.

    This is more accepted in American English.In British the following structure is often used :

    Should+Infinitive >>>The teacher insisted that she should be on time.

    (If I'm wrong the English teachers or at least native speakers will mention that)

    Take care .....
    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********

    Hello, Abdoss.

    (1) YES! Thanks to Ms. Barbara and Member Birdeen, you and I

    now understand the rule.

    (2) As Mr. Dixson says in his book, use the present subjunctive for

    special verbs: recommend, suggest, demand, require, insist, etc.

    (a) the present subjunctive of be is:

    I be
    You be
    He, she, it be
    We be
    They be

    (3) If you are not using a special verb, then you use the past

    subjunctive: (Mr. Dixon's example)

    They looked as though [as if] they were both Italians.

    (P. S. He reminds us that native speakers might even use a

    non-subjunctive: ...as if they are both Italians.)

    (4) Thank you, Abdoss, for the great question. I really learned a lot.

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