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The subjunctive mood in English - once more with feeling

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

Postby Apoclima » Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:39 pm

Excellent example, Larry!

Apo
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Postby tcward » Wed Feb 22, 2006 11:58 pm

Stargzer wrote: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 . . .


That sounds very unnatural to me. It needs a should or a could before 'make'.

And my guess is that the latest registered user, 28f8fcfc03e6f8de0edf88555, isn't here to truly participate in the forum, either, just like those other spammers! :evil:

-Tim
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Postby Stargzer » Thu Feb 23, 2006 12:32 am

Yeah, on reflection I think it should have been:

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


I just finished cleaning out one of my older EMail accounts. Several thousand messages backed up, only a handful not Spam.
Regards//Larry

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Postby KatyBr » Thu Feb 23, 2006 1:01 am

get a rope, let's run these dirty spammers outta town to the hangin' tree!

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Postby Spiff » Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:47 am

And my guess is that the latest registered user, 28f8fcfc03e6f8de0edf88555, isn't here to truly participate in the forum, either, just like those other spammers! :evil:

-Tim[/quote]

I hope for his sake he's selected the option "Remember my ID on this computer".
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Postby malachai » Sun Aug 06, 2006 12:26 am

I've always wondered whether "were" in something like "I wish I were rich" really was the subjunctive. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language calls this the irrealis.

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/language ... 01192.html

"were" in "I wish I were rich" or "If I were taller" isn't the past form of "be". That is, "if I were" is not the past of "if I be".
Replace "were" with any other verb, and the simple past tense is used: "I wish I had a million dollars."

So this "were" construction isn't the subjunctive, it's a separate form only used with "be", which linguists call the irrealis.
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Postby Ferrus » Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:24 pm

The subjunctive is almost never used in Britain now, I suspect it will be seen as a North American archaism akin to 'gotten'.
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Postby sluggo » Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:56 pm

the topic title here reminded me of this old joke:

A businessman from Chicago goes on a trip to Boston. He's never been there before, so a co-worker tells him he must sample the seafood. "Go down to the wharf and try the scrod" he tells him.

So the businessman gets off the plane in Boston and hails a cab. As they're nearing the hotel he asks his driver, "say do you know a good place to get scrod around here?" Cabdriver turns with an astonished look: "Sir, I've heard that question a million times but you're the first one who put it in the pluperfect subjunctive."
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