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    #1

    Subjunctive mood

    Hello I would like to ask the following: When we have an if-clause, which is presupposed to be false, must we use the subjunctive in the main clause? On the other hand, if the clause might be certain, we should use the indicative in the main clause? I have been reading about it, thatīs why I would like to know if I have understood. For instance:
    If you study six hours a day, and you not spend all day sleeping, you would certainly improve in your career.
    If you worked as hard as you have been doing until now, you would receive an award at the end of this year.
    Could anybody give another example?
    Best regards

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    #2

    Re: Subjunctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by MARAMARA View Post
    Hello I would like to ask the following: When we have an if-clause, which is presupposed to be false, must we use the subjunctive in the main clause? On the other hand, if the clause might be certain, we should use the indicative in the main clause? I have been reading about it, thatīs why I would like to know if I have understood. For instance:
    If you study six hours a day, and you not spend all day sleeping, you would certainly improve in your career.
    If you worked as hard as you have been doing until now, you would receive an award at the end of this year.
    Could anybody give another example?
    Best regards
    The subjunctive is not used in modern English.

    There are two exceptions.

    A. I demand[ed]/request[ed]/require[d]/indend[ed] that he do it, that you be there. PRESENT

    "Do", "be" in all persons, singular and plural. This is quite formal, and usually replaced by "should do", "should be".

    B. If I were there [though I am not], I would do it. PAST. BUT: if I was there [and I was], I have done it; AND if I had been there [though I was not], I would have done it [but of course I had no chance to do so]. See below, case 2.

    The verb "to be" is the only one to have a past subjunctive distinct from the simple past: "were" for all persons, singular and plural.

    For your sentences, no subjunctive is required (with the one exception for one verb were). There are four basic cases, omitting all the continuous forms:

    1. If you study all day, and [do] not spend all day sleeping, you will certainly improve your career. <-- This is what will happen if you do study now.
    If he studies all day, and does not spend all day sleeping, he will certainly improve his career.

    *2. If you studied all day, and did not spend all day sleeping, you would certainly improve your career. <-- But you don't study!
    *If I were... this is the only case where the (past) subjective remains in English, but it can be distinguished from the simple past only for "I" and "he".

    3. If you studied all day, and did not spend all day sleeping, then your career must have improved. <-- Since you did study, I suppose this about your career.

    4. If you had studied all day, and had not spent all day sleeping, you would have certainly improved your career. <-- But you did not!

    Looking at your examples, we see that they are both not quite correct.

    If you study six hours a day, and you not spend all day sleeping, you would certainly improve in your career.
    This one is done in all possible forms above.

    If you worked as hard as you have been doing until now, you would receive an award at the end of this year.
    This one should be either

    If you work as hard as you have been doing until now, you will receive an award at the end of this year.

    or

    If you still worked as hard as you had been doing until Dec. 1, you would receive an award at the end of this year.


    Replacement for subjunctive

    Until 100-200 years ago, the present subjunctive was used in clauses of condition (if I be, unless I be), concession (although I be), and purpose (until I be). In all of these, it is no longer used. It is replaced by a simple present, "am"; or, more formally, by "should be".
    Last edited by abaka; 27-Jan-2009 at 04:50.


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    #3

    Smile Re: Subjunctive mood

    Dear Abaka: Regarding to your answer, should it be right to say:?
    Our boss requested we be at the office at 7.30 am /
    If I had been you, I would have done the whole homework/
    I require you should do the notes for tomorrow morning.
    Like you say, if the subjunctive is not used in modern English, I neednīt to worry about my examples,besides, I have taken note of the corrections.
    Thanks!!!!

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    #4

    Re: Subjunctive mood

    Our boss requested we be at the office at 7.30 am perfect!

    If I had been you, I would have done the whole homework
    Sorry. This is a mixed case I didn't include above.

    If I were you [but I am not, even today], I would have done all the homework/the whole assignment [yesterday]

    Or

    If we had been together [yesterday, but we were not], I would have done all the homework [for you].

    There are probably many other cases I've missed. But if you do the thinking in the brackets every time you use these constructions, you should do very well.


    I require you should do the notes for tomorrow morning. OK
    I require that you should do the notes for tomorrow morning. equivalently OK
    I require that you do the notes for tomorrow morning. equivalently OK
    I require you to do the notes for tomorrow morning.Best

    If you are wondering why it's better to replace the subjunctive here with the infinitive [require], but the [request] is perfect with it, consider that a "requirement" is very formal to begin with, so to pile on yet more formality by using the subjunctive is just too much. On the other hand, the subjunctive simply makes the [request] formal.

    Like you say, if the subjunctive is not used in modern English, I neednīt to worry about my examples,besides, I have taken note of the corrections.
    Thanks!!!!
    Just watch the were! The present subjunctive of intent can really be avoided, but the were should be used in educated speech.
    Last edited by abaka; 27-Jan-2009 at 21:15.

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    #5

    Re: Subjunctive mood

    I would not use "require" and "should" together, as their meanings are not compatible. (and if their meanings were the same, using both would be redundant)

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    #6

    Re: Subjunctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    I would not use "require" and "should" together, as their meanings are not the same. (and if their meanings were the same, using both would be redundant)
    The locution with "require" +"should" is correct, and here are some beautiful examples:

    "require that you should" OR "require that I should" OR "require that they should" OR "require that we should" - Google Search

    But you are right that the infinitive is even better. The search doesn't give too many results, although some (such as the court decision on the second page) are surely "authoritative".

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    #7

    Re: Subjunctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    The locution with "require" +"should" is correct, and here are some beautiful examples:

    "require that you should" OR "require that I should" OR "require that they should" OR "require that we should" - Google Search

    But you are right that the infinitive is even better. The search doesn't give too many results, although some (such as the court decision on the second page) are surely "authoritative".
    Those google results are merely examples of bad English.

    'I require that you .......' is a necessity. You have to do it.
    'You should ......' is a suggestion.

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    #8

    Re: Subjunctive mood

    2006, I'm sure you feel it's bad English, but there are enough results from educated sources that I, for my part, wouldn't want to prescribe.

    "required that he should" OR "required that they should" - Google Search=

    68,000 hits.

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    #9

    Re: Subjunctive mood

    'It was decided that he should be required to....' it only works this way round guys.

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    #10

    Re: Subjunctive mood

    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    2006, I'm sure you feel it's bad English, but there are enough results from educated sources that I, for my part, wouldn't want to prescribe.

    "required that he should" OR "required that they should" - Google Search=

    68,000 hits.
    It's not a matter of prescribing. Think about what the words "require' and "should" mean. It's simply illogical to use them together that way.

    "educated sources" is another issue.

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