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  1. Boris Tatarenko's Avatar
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    #1

    it's essential that everyone be/is

    1. It's essential that everyone be here on time.
    2. It's essential that everyone is here on time.

    To be fully honest with you, I've been using the second sentence for my entire life but I've just read that it's possible to say the first one. I wonder if there's a difference in their meanings.

    In my opinion they do not mean the same thing because apparently the word "should" is ommited before the word "be". Am I right?
    Please, correct all my mistakes. I should know English perfectly and if you show me my mistakes I will achieve my dream a little bit faster. A lot of thanks.

    Not a teacher nor a native speaker.

  2. Roman55's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: it's essential that everyone be/is

    They have the same meaning, but 1. uses the subjunctive and 2. uses the indicative. They are both commonly used.

    PS. I would add (this is after tzfujimino 'liked' my original post almost before I'd had time to write it) that in some languages, the version written in the indicative would simply be wrong. This is not the case in English.
    Last edited by Roman55; 04-Feb-2016 at 18:38. Reason: Adding an afterthought
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  3. Boris Tatarenko's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: it's essential that everyone be/is

    Thank you.

    That means that I'll keep sticking to the second one.
    Please, correct all my mistakes. I should know English perfectly and if you show me my mistakes I will achieve my dream a little bit faster. A lot of thanks.

    Not a teacher nor a native speaker.

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    #4

    Re: it's essential that everyone be/is

    The subjunctive (sentence 1) is the usual AmE usage; in fact, sentence 2 feels wrong to me as an AmE speaker. My observation of British usage is that the indicative (sentence 2) is typical in BrE.
    I am not a teacher.

  4. Boris Tatarenko's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: it's essential that everyone be/is

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    The subjunctive (sentence 1) is the usual AmE usage; in fact, sentence 2 feels wrong to me as an AmE speaker. My observation of British usage is that the indicative (sentence 2) is typical in BrE.
    It's really unpleasant because I prefer AmE and I'm not used to saying something like sentence 1 at all. However, if "should" isn't omitted, it's not a big deal for me to go for the first sentence. Does it sound natural with "should"?
    Please, correct all my mistakes. I should know English perfectly and if you show me my mistakes I will achieve my dream a little bit faster. A lot of thanks.

    Not a teacher nor a native speaker.

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    #6

    Re: it's essential that everyone be/is

    The subjunctive is used more often in AmE than in BrE. I notice the difference the most in sentences like "The President insisted that the decision be reversed." BrE would, I think, almost always say "was reversed," which just sounds weird to me. AmE retains a nuance here that has disappeared in BrE; in AmE, "The President insisted that the decision was reversed" means the decision had been made some time ago, someone asserted that it had not been changed, and the President contradicted that person.

    Returning to your question, if you're asking whether "It's essential that everyone should be here on time" sounds natural in AmE, I'd say it's a little heavy but not terribly unnatural. "It's essential" and "should" are redundant.
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    #7

    Re: it's essential that everyone be/is

    I agree. "Should" is not wrong, but it is redundant.

  5. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: it's essential that everyone be/is

    I would use the subjunctive "be" in the given examples. (BrE speaker)
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: it's essential that everyone be/is

    So would I (BrE) but I am aware that I'm in something of a minority these days.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  7. Raymott's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: it's essential that everyone be/is

    I'd also use the subjunctive. And I wouldn't use 'should' if it wasn't right. There are cases where 'should' makes no sense.
    1. "The colonel ordered that the deserter should be shot."
    2. "The colonel ordered that the deserter be shot."

    To me (AusE), only 2 makes sense. The colonel might believe that the deserter should be shot. But if he wants it to happen, the order must be that the deserter be shot.

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