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    #1

    How can we tell when it's not a subjunctive

    Teacher,
    I took a quiz and got numbers 4 and 10 wrong.

    1 It is essential that she be at the meeting.
    2 If I were you, I would call her tonight.
    3 It is necessary that every student wear a uniform.
    4 I hope that he finish his homework on time. (should be "finishes")
    5 The doctors recommended that take she a holiday.
    6 The boss asks that you be early for your first day of work.
    7 If you were feeling better, we would go.
    8 It is important that we go home as soon as we arrive.
    9 The landlord requested that John move out of the apartment.
    10 We want the windows be washed before Friday. (should be "to be")

    Question:

    Why are numbers 4 and 10 not subjunctives?

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: How can we tell when it's not a subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by NoneNative View Post
    Question:

    Why are numbers 4 and 10 not subjunctives?
    They're not subjunctive because they aren't grammatical in the first place. You seem to realise this.
    Are you asking why the corrected sentences are not subjunctive? If so, why not just write the corrected sentences?

    PS: Or are you asking why 4 and 10 are not grammatical, ie. why they can't be subjunctive?

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    #3

    Re: How can we tell when it's not a subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    are you asking why 4 and 10 are not grammatical, ie. why they can't be subjunctive?
    Yes. I would like to know why "finish" on No. 4 is wrong. I know "to be" on No. 10 is correct, but it just sounds like an order. According to the rules, an order is in subjunctive mood.

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    #4

    Re: How can we tell when it's not a subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by NoneNative View Post
    Yes. I would like to know why "finish" on No. 4 is wrong. I know "to be" on No. 10 is correct, but it just sounds like an order. According to the rules, an order is in subjunctive mood.
    I don't think 10 is an order. It's an indicative statement of what we want, just as 4 is a statement of what I hope.
    'Want' and 'hope' (and 'wish') are not usually (never?) followed by the subjunctive. I can't explain why just at the moment.

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    #5

    Re: How can we tell when it's not a subjunctive

    I can understand why the verb "to be" is use after the word window.

    "I want the windows washed." is the same as "I want the windows to be washed by someone else, no myself."
    The noun clause "windows to be washed" is in passive voice.

    Isn't "wishes", in 4, an expectation Or is there another name for it?

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    #6

    Re: How can we tell when it's not a subjunctive

    NOT A TEACHER


    Hello,


    The verb "hope" has long confused me, too. I did some research and am delighted to share some ideas (not "answers") with you:

    1. Maybe (only my opinion) English speakers used the subjunctive a long, long, long time ago.

    a. I found this interesting tidbit about the Italian language. It seems that nowadays, many Italians also say the equivalent of "I hope he comes," instead of the subjunctive that is required by "literary tradition."

    * The Italian Language Today (1988), Anna and Giulio Lepschy. (Google books)

    2. Many experts point out that "hope" is almost the same as "expect." So if you expect something, maybe that is

    one reason that native speakers prefer the indicative.

    *A Grammar of the English Grammar (1931),Vol. II, page 401; A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1965), p. 249; en.wikipedia.org.


    3. (a) The devil take him.
    (b) May the devil take him.
    (c) I hope that the devil takes/ may take/ will take him.

    The scholars who gave those examples explain that native speakers first used sentences such as (a) and then they moved on to (b) type of sentences, and now we prefer sentences such as (c).

    * The Cambridge History of the English Language (1992), R. Hogg, N.F. Blake, S. Romaine. (Google books)

    4. For some people (especially old people like me whose ears are accustomed to certain sounds), it is possible to occasionally use the subjunctive in American English.

    (a) For me (and perhaps others?), I find this sentence perfectly natural and correct:

    It is my hope that ____ win the presidential election in November.

    (b) Here are some examples from Google books:

    (i) My hope is that he come. * Bones Rules: Or, Skeleton of English Grammar (1901).
    (ii) My hope is that she come home safely. The Cooper Hill Stylebook. (2005)

    5. Here is some advice for us:

    "You will not be wrong if you join the majority of users in expressing subjunctive meaning with indicative forms."

    The scholars explain that "I hope that she attends college" is fine and that it is not necessary to say "It is my hope that she attend college."

    *
    Writing at Work (1997), Edward L. Smith and Stephen A. Bernhart.

    6. I then found these examples in Google books:

    a. My hope is that this text helps ....
    b. It is my hope that the data can help ....
    c. It is my hope that these assignments will lend ....
    d. It is my hope that the information may serve ....

    7. Finally, I wish to quote a very well-educated American government official who wrote this in 1916. Today the underlined words would be in the indicative:

    "I am now going down to ... New York till the President send for me; or, if he do not send for me, I'm going to his

    house and sit on his front steps till he come out." *A Grammar of the English Language, Vol. II, p. 407.

    As you can see, we have moved away from the subjunctive in many instances.


    HAVE A NICE DAY!
    Last edited by TheParser; 11-Aug-2012 at 14:30.

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    #7

    Re: How can we tell when it's not a subjunctive

    I appreciate the sharing of your extensive research; it's quite impressive. I can see why in real life, speaking naturally is more important that strict application of English grammar. Languages do drift away from rigid rules as time passed. Your examples make absolute sense to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post

    The verb "hope" has long confused me, too. I did some research and am delighted to share some ideas (not "answers") with you:

    3. (a) The devil take him.
    (b) May the devil take him.
    (c) I hope that the devil takes/ may take/ will take him.

    The scholars who gave those examples explain that native speakers first used sentences such as (a) and then they moved on to (b) type of sentences, and now we prefer sentences such as (c).
    3b and 3c make sense because that's how it's expressed in classic Latin. Hopes and wishes are express in subjunctive mood. You might find it interesting that, in classical Latin, the subjunctive verbs "may", "might", "should", "would" are the transformed from the indicate verb "can" and the verb "be" as in "am", "is", "are", and "were".

    3a makes no sense when it's expressed as a wish, but you might also find this interesting when viewed from Latin grammar. In Latin, 3a is in vocative form; that is, the statement is directed to the devil in a form of petition that he be taken, in which case "take" is a subjunctive verb.
    Last edited by NoneNative; 11-Aug-2012 at 15:20.

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    #8

    Re: How can we tell when it's not a subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by NoneNative View Post
    3a makes no sense when it's expressed as a wish,
    It may be old-fashioned, but it does make sense,
    but you might also find this interesting when viewed from Latin grammar. In Latin, 3a is in vocative form; that is, the statement is directed to the devil in a form of petition that he be taken, in which case "take" is a subjunctive verb.
    That English form is not directed to the devil, and it would be incorrect to translate it into Latin with a vocative. It could be directed to the devil in English, "Devil, take (imperative) him." That is not particularly idiomatic, but it's not impossible.

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    #9

    Re: How can we tell when it's not a subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    it would be incorrect to translate it into Latin with a vocative. It could be directed to the devil in English, "Devil, take (imperative) him." That is not particularly idiomatic, but it's not impossible.
    Yes, particularly, "The" modifies the noun "devil."

    On "Devil, take him" I would agree that it could be taken as an imperative statement.

    I think it could also be taken as vocative. What do you think about these?

    Fight bravely, soldiers!

    Thou, O Lord, will help me.

    Hear you, O nation!

    Devil! Take him.

    Take him, Devil!

    How do you tell the difference? Sorry, I don't mean to break the thread. I just thought that it would be nice to iron it out while we are at it.

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    #10

    Re: How can we tell when it's not a subjunctive

    Quote Originally Posted by NoneNative View Post
    On "Devil, take him" I would agree that it could be taken as an imperative statement.
    More specifically, the verb is in the imperative mood.
    I think it could also be taken as vocative.
    If English had a vocative case, 'Devil' would be vocative. 'Devil' is the person/thing being addressed.
    What do you think about these?

    Fight bravely, soldiers!
    Thou, O Lord, will help me.
    Hear you, O nation!
    Devil! Take him.
    Take him, Devil!
    In the second, 'Lord' is being addressed, but 'will help' is not imperative. All the others are just like 'Devil, take him'.

    How do you tell the difference?
    The difference between what two things?

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