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  1. Senior Member
    Interested in Language
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      • Native Language:
      • Serbo-Croatian
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      • Bosnia Herzegovina
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    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #1

    it or _

    Are both sentences below correct ones or an empty subject "it" and a coma are missed in #1?

    1. Whether or not the verb is a past subjunctive is irrelevant.

    2. It is irrelevant whether or not the verb is a past subjunctive.

    Thanks

  2. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
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      • British English
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      • England
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      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
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    #2

    Re: it or _

    Quote Originally Posted by e2e4 View Post
    Are both sentences below correct ones or are an empty subject "it" and a comma missed in #1?

    1. Whether or not the verb is a past subjunctive is irrelevant.

    2. It is irrelevant whether or not the verb is a past subjunctive.
    Well, well! You are checking up on me, e2e4!

  3. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
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      • England
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      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Oct 2010
    • Posts: 28,134
    #3

    Re: it or _

    Quote Originally Posted by e2e4 View Post
    Are both sentences below correct ones or are an empty subject "it" and a comma missed in #1?

    1. Whether or not the verb is a past subjunctive is irrelevant.

    2. It is irrelevant whether or not the verb is a past subjunctive.

    Thanks
    I suspect your question about the comma arises because you feel that there could be one after after subjunctive in #1. The answer is a clear no. The subject of the verb is is the whole clause Whether or not the verb is a past subjunctive. It would be as wrong to insert a comma there as if you put one here: *It, is irrelevant.

    The reason some people feel the need for a comma there is that, in speech, we often make an almost imperceptible pause after a very long subject and before the verb I think we do this subconsciously, probably as a sign that the over-long subject is now complete.

    I must now confess that many people would regard my construction in that sentence (which I used in another thread) as rather formal, old-fashioned and/or cumbersome. Most people would express the thought as in #2, which is somewhat more transparent I have to, reluctantly, admit.

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