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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    we felt that it was important that ... ?

    Dear Teachers,

    Which of the following sentences is grammatically correct?

    1. We felt that it was important that John went to a good school.
    2. We felt that it was important that John go to a good school.
    3. We felt that it was important that John should go to a good school.

    Many thanks!

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: we felt that it was important that ... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Katz View Post
    Dear Teachers,

    Which of the following sentences is grammatically correct?

    1. We felt that it was important that John went to a good school.
    2. We felt that it was important that John go to a good school.
    3. We felt that it was important that John should go to a good school.

    Many thanks!
    They are all acceptable.

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    #3

    Re: we felt that it was important that ... ?

    They are all correct, but they don't mean the same thing. Can you tell the difference between numbers 1. and 2.? Are you familiar with the subjunctive mood? If not, please google english subjunctive and read about it.

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    #4

    Re: we felt that it was important that ... ?

    Thanks guys, I was pretty sure they were all correct but for some reason I doubted myself - I should trust my gut more often

    Birdeen's call, I don't think there's any difference between 1 and 2 but I'll be more than happy to read your comments on that one if you'd like to share.

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    #5

    Re: we felt that it was important that ... ?

    There is a difference (although it might not be true for all dialects -- I don't know).

    Number 1. means

    John went to a good school and we felt that it was important.

    Numbers 2. and 3. suggest that John didn't go to a good school. He probably didn't go to school at all. They felt that sending John to a good school was important.

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    #6

    Re: we felt that it was important that ... ?

    That's interesting, thanks for sharing. I thought the sentences were similar in meaning.

    John went to a good school and we felt that it was important.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but in this case wouldn't that be:
    We felt that it was important that John had gone to a good school?

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    #7

    Re: we felt that it was important that ... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Katz View Post
    That's interesting, thanks for sharing. I thought the sentences were similar in meaning.

    John went to a good school and we felt that it was important.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but in this case wouldn't that be:
    We felt that it was important that John had gone to a good school?
    This is also a correct sentence. It says that John went to a good school before they felt it was important.

    You will understand the difference between numbers 1. and 2. when you learn about the subjunctive mood. The second sentence makes use of it.

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    #8

    Re: we felt that it was important that ... ?

    I, too, see that 1 and 2/3 say completely different things.

    Like BC, 1 is "John went to a good school. That fact is important."

    However, I disagree with the interpretation of 2 and 3. I don't know whether he went to a good school or not, but I do know that you were in a position to influence whether or not that happened, and you thought it was important that you try to make it so.
    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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    #9

    Re: we felt that it was important that ... ?

    I didn't expect this post to get so long, but I guess this is why I like this forum - you can dissect the language to the core

    Birdeen's call, thank you for your insights. I'm well aware of what the subjunctive is, but I'm still not convinced that there is a difference in meaning between sentence 1 and sentences 2 and 3.

    Am I right in thinking that in all 3 cases the fact whether or not John went to a good school is not important; the emphasis here is on the fact that they (perhaps the parents) thought it would have been great if he'd got into one? Thus, the use of Past Simple in 1 does not necessarily imply that John had already been attending a good school at the time of speaking?

    I'd love a comment from a native teacher on this one.

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    #10

    Re: we felt that it was important that ... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    However, I disagree with the interpretation of 2 and 3. I don't know whether he went to a good school or not, but I do know that you were in a position to influence whether or not that happened, and you thought it was important that you try to make it so.
    You're right. I narrowed the potential scope of the sentence because I was having trouble expressing the idea without using the subjunctive.

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