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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. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 24 '17 at 17:54
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    Your second (subjunctive) version is significantly more formal/dated, so you'd probably be well-advised to stick with the first one. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 24 '17 at 18:05
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    @FumbleFingers I'm American and easily impressed by anything that sounds remotely like posh British :) – Andrew May 24 '17 at 18:11
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    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 '17 at 18:35
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    Guys, I think the context is that this is a demand or requirement of hers. It's not a medical condition, AFAIK. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 24 '17 at 19:41
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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 '17 at 19:49
  • @user3169: She could also be having a bad hair day. Or she could be naked. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 24 '17 at 19:53
0

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.

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