Is it okay to write this:

Her condition was that he should not be allowed into her house.

Or, is the grammatical format this:

Her condition was that he not be allowed into her house.

  • 1
    Either is acceptable.
    – TimR
    May 24, 2017 at 17:54
  • 1
    Your second (subjunctive) version is significantly more formal/dated, so you'd probably be well-advised to stick with the first one. May 24, 2017 at 18:05
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers I'm American and easily impressed by anything that sounds remotely like posh British :)
    – Andrew
    May 24, 2017 at 18:11
  • 1
    I don't generally like questions that ask, "Is this okay?" because the answer is generally, "Sure, it's okay." In this case, though, I'll point out that it reads a little awkward to me, and I'd prefer seeing something like: "Her condition was so grave that he was not allowed into her house."
    – J.R.
    May 24, 2017 at 18:35
  • 1
    Guys, I think the context is that this is a demand or requirement of hers. It's not a medical condition, AFAIK.
    – TimR
    May 24, 2017 at 19:41

2 Answers 2


If the context of the question is that she is making a demand, as in

A condition of the agreement is that he not be allowed within 150 feet of the house.

then the subjunctive is fine. It is more formal than the modal "should not be", however, if the context demands formality (as an agreement would), the subjunctive is not dated or old-fashioned but quite common.

  • However, in case it was a medical condition, you could write "Her condition was such that he should not be allowed into her house." from the POV of a third-party.
    – user3169
    May 24, 2017 at 19:49
  • @user3169: She could also be having a bad hair day. Or she could be naked.
    – TimR
    May 24, 2017 at 19:53

Both are correct. The second example is in the present subjunctive and is more formal, but both are grammatically correct. I like the subjunctive form you give though and I would probably use it most of the time; however that's just my choice.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .