Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

The subjunctive mood in English - once more with feeling

You have words - now what do you do with them?

Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Dec 11, 2005 11:23 am

But you aren't coining that phrase. Somebody else before you invented it.

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby M. Henri Day » Sun Dec 11, 2005 11:54 am

Ah, BD - nothing, save only irony, misses your eagle eye !...

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
M. Henri Day
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1142
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stockholm, SVERIGE

Postby Brazilian dude » Fri Feb 03, 2006 8:41 pm

This caught my eye today, especially coming from an English teacher to speakers of other languages:

...it's very important that learners are given multiple opportunities to speak and use the language as often as possible, and reading texts can provide the input that learners need to get started.

Maybe I should point out that he's an American, to whom the subjunctive sounds much more spontaneous than to a Brit, at least so I've heard. But on the other hand, I've noticed that the subjunctive of be tends to be much less often used, perhaps because it is so different from the conjugated indicative forms (am, is, are), whereas all other verbs possess an unmarked present tense conjugation and a marked one with the addition of s or es to the infinitive for third person singular.

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Feb 04, 2006 5:08 pm

I googled: "suggest that he go" -462 hits

"suggest that he goes" -859 hits

"ask that he do" -193 hits

"ask that he does" -440 hits

"propose that he be" -170 hits

"propose that he is" -581 hits

Since suggest and propose, as has been said, can also properly used with the indicative, a detail that had skipped my mind, I used verbs and adjectives that could properly only be used in the subjunctive (if I haven't goofed up, obviously):

"recommend that he do" - 446 hits
"recommend that he does" - 532 hits
"recommended that he do" - 340 hits
"recommended that he did" - 89 hits

"asked that he do" - 387 hits
"asked that he did" - 382 hits

"is essential that he be" - 409 hits
"is essential that he is" - 343 hits
"was essential that he be" - 356 hits
"was essential that he was" - 55 hits

"is essential that he do" - 43 hits
"is essential that he does" - 123 hits
"was essential that he do" - 34 hits
"was essential that he did" - 21 hits

It's comforting to see that, although the indicative is encroaching on subjunctive territory, the subjunctive is not yet dead, quite the contrary, it is still preponderant (except in "is essential that he do/does").

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby tcward » Sat Feb 04, 2006 10:20 pm

Funny that you should mention that "is essential" phrase and its results... As I read your post I noticed it and thought that there would more likely be opportunities in English where the hits would not necessarily be representative of the misuse of the indicative.

For example, if I were to say:

"What is essential? I can tell you one thing that is essential: that he is an elder of this church."

If the discussion is about someone who is an elder in that church, that quote would only be correct (grammatically) with the indicative, wouldn't it?

-Tim
User avatar
tcward
Senior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 789
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:18 pm
Location: The Old North State

Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Feb 04, 2006 10:23 pm

Oh, maybe this is one of those cases Apo mentioned earlier. I think you're right: he is (indeed) an elder and that is essential. It does help to "Romancize" the sentence to see the difference. :P

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby JJ » Sat Feb 04, 2006 10:59 pm

When certain ethnic folks in this country speak as the following, are they using the subjunctive mood?:

"If he be down to Leon's again, I'm awn killim..."

I actually heard, in reference to BeBe and CeCe Wynans, "He be BeBe, an' she be CeCe."

Hey--it's not original with me--but I DID laugh my arsoff.

Sheesh--I laugh listening to Cajuns in the truck stops on the interstate...

If I'm reading, "Should he have come earlier...", I'm mentally telling myself that it's a question, dude, but it could very well be a tense/case/mood that I can't even pronounce, like a past perfunctily intricative conditional obtrusive...

Subjunctive in Spanish makes a lot more sense than in English. But what do I know?

JJ
JJ
Junior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 9:58 pm
Location: Central Texas, USA

Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Feb 05, 2006 7:57 am

"If he be down to Leon's again, I'm awn killim..."

Here it is, because it depends on a condition, introduced by if. The others are not.

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby gailr » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:15 pm

To use the subjunctive or to not use
the subjunctive, that is the essential
question. Whether it be nobler on the
page to suffer the vag'ries of question-
able grammar, or to insist that one
employs an archaic and difficult
tense. But scoff you now, fair mem'rabilia.
Synonymph, in thy past perfunctily
intricative condition'l obtrusive,

be all my ungrammatical faux pas
be remembered.

-gailr
with apologies to both Will and JJ...
User avatar
gailr
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1945
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 11:40 am

Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:57 am

or to insist that one employs an archaic and difficult
tense

Archaic and difficult? It's neither archaic nor difficult. How can it be difficult if all you need the base form of the verb, no changes to it at all?

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:58 am

You guys are too querulous. You should learn OUR subjunctive. :twisted:

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby gailr » Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:23 pm

Had I but known that the only thing to fear was not fear itself, I should not have been caught unawares by the shadowy menace of...The Portugese Subjunctive!
-gailr
User avatar
gailr
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1945
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 11:40 am

Postby Brazilian dude » Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:55 pm

Or the French, or the Italian, or the Spanish, or the Latin. The Romanian one is easy, though.

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby Stargzer » Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:57 pm

Does this qualify as the subjunctive?

Oh,would that Congress make Spamming a capital crime, or at least life in solitary 24x7 . . .


Based on our recent experience in the Suggest a Good Word forum . . .
Regards//Larry

"To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
-- Attributed to Richard Henry Lee
User avatar
Stargzer
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2551
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:56 pm
Location: Crownsville, MD

Postby Brazilian dude » Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:30 pm

I would say yes, since it expresses a wish on the part of the speaker.

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

PreviousNext

Return to Grammar

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

cron