The subjunctive mood is the verb form used to express a wish, a suggestion, a command, or a condition that is contrary to fact. A
verb in the subjunctive mood may have a different form to one with the same subject which is not in the subjunctive mood.
The following verbs often attract the subjunctive mood: ask, command, demand, insist, order, recommend, suggest and wish.
- I was in your position two years ago.
(not in the subjunctive mood)
- If I were in your position, I would do the same.
a condition contrary to fact
The following adjectives often attract the subjunctive mood: crucial, essential, important, imperative and necessary.
- I wish it were still in use.
(subjunctive mood - "it was" becomes "it were")
- The board recommended that the motion be passed immediately.
(subjunctive mood - "motion is passed" becomes "motion be passed")
- She suggests that Mark work full time from Saturday.
(subjunctive mood - "Mark works" becomes "Mark work")
- It is imperative that the game begin at once.
(subjunctive mood - "game begins" becomes "game begin")
said it was essential that Johan guard
[show me the subjunctive mood]|
Through common usage, the non-subjunctive forms of verbs are gradually replacing the subjunctive forms. Many of the examples above sound incorrect. In summary, the changes are:
|is (e.g., is allowed)
||be (e.g., be allowed)|
|was (e.g., I was ordered.)
||were (e.g., If I were ordered,...)
|verb ending "s" (e.g., he cooks)
||cook (e.g., ...that he cook...)
Glossary of grammatical terms