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    #1

    X tried to insist that all firearms are/were

    Hi,

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/le...rnitv105.shtml

    - The government tried to insist (that) all firearms should be handed in without delay.
    - The government tried to insist (that) all firearms be handed in without delay
    - The government tried to insist (that) all firearms are handed in without delay

    I would like to ask why 'were handed in' is not used in the sentence because of the verb 'tried.'

    - The government tried to insist (that) all firearms were handed in without delay

    Thanks.

  1. Skrej's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: X tried to insist that all firearms are/were

    Because the firearms haven't been handed in yet. Did you notice the part at the top of that page that explains the usage of the subjunctive?

    The subjunctive is used to express intention or proposal about the future. It requires use of the verb in its basic form rather than its normal tense form.

    This is a proposal from the government that people who currently have firearms should turn them, and do so quickly.

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    #3

    Re: X tried to insist that all firearms are/were

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/le...rnitv201.shtml

    1- It was desirable (that) she should go to a school where Italian was taught.
    2- It was desirable (that) she go to a school where Italian was taught.
    3- It was desirable (that) she went to a school where Italian was taught.

    So many thanks for the answer. But I cannot understand why 'was' is used in sentences 1 and 2 although ''the subjunctive is used to express intention or proposal about the future. It requires use of the verb in its basic form rather than its normal tense form.'' Should it not be 'is' instead of 'was' in the first two ones?

    Thanks again.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: X tried to insist that all firearms are/were

    Quote Originally Posted by ademoglu View Post
    But I cannot understand why 'was' is used in sentences 1 and 2
    I think this is because it was desirable in the past, but I am not a teacher.

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    #5

    Re: X tried to insist that all firearms are/were

    So it is also correct to say, The government tried to insist (that) all firearms were handed in without delay" if it is in the past, for example 5 days ago.

    - 5 days ago the goverment tried to insist that all firearms were handed in without delay.

    Am I right?

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    #6

    Re: X tried to insist that all firearms are/were

    Yes. As Matthew mentioned above, we're talking about the past, but at that particular time in the past, the proposal to turn in all firearms was a proposal for the future. It had not happened yet at that point in the past.

    5 Five days ago the government tried to insist that all firearms were handed in without delay.
    We normally write out small numbers in sentences, but otherwise, yes, this sentence is okay.

  4. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: X tried to insist that all firearms are/were

    Five days ago the government tried to insist that all firearms were handed in without delay, but this proposal was cancelled yesterday.
    I think 'were' refers to the past. Am I right or wrong?

    Not a teacher.

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    #8

    Re: X tried to insist that all firearms are/were

    Five days ago the government tried to insist that all firearms were handed in without delay.
    The government tried to insist (that) all firearms are handed in without delay.

    These two sentences aren't saying exactly the same thing, even though they're both correct.

    The first one is reporting what the government claimed happened five days ago.
    The second one is reporting what the government proposed should happen.

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    #9

    Re: X tried to insist that all firearms are/were

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I think 'were' refers to the past. Am I right or wrong?

    Not a teacher.
    As far as I can judge, it does refer to the past. Yet, there is a 'but'.

    The thing is, "Five days ago the government tried to insist that all firearms were handed in without delay" does not look like a proposal.
    It is more of a statement of a fact: the goverment insisted (or tried to) on the fact that all firearms were handled in. Perhaps, they were persistent trying to present this to the public as a fait accompli -- nothing about anticipation, expectation, or proposal of some future "handling in".


    1) I insist that she is here.
    2) I insist that she (should) be here.


    In the first example sentence, the subject seems to be very sure that the person in question (she) must be there -- perhaps, for instance, in the same building: they saw her enter it a minute ago without anyone seeing her out after that.

    In the second one, the subject expresses his strong wish or proposal to see her there -- as described in that BBC article above.

    Not a teacher.
    Last edited by Weaver67; 13-Jul-2015 at 13:55.

  6. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: X tried to insist that all firearms are/were

    Quote Originally Posted by Weaver67 View Post
    "Five days ago the government tried to insist that all firearms were handed in without delay" does not look like a proposal.
    I think it seems a proposal below, but I am not a teacher.
    'Five days ago the government tried to insist that all firearms were handed in without delay, but it subsequently backed down in the face of strong opposition.'

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