Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole

It was advised that ____ inside until the storm passed our area.

1) we are staying

2) we stay

3) we may

4) we stayed

I believe that the answer is 2. But, I also think 4 is equally correct because I know most subjunctive structures can be replaced by "should + infinitive" or ordinary present and past tenses. Am I right?

  • Pedants will say that only #2 (the subjunctive usage) is correct in such contexts. But in practice, as pointed out by this answer to an earlier question, native speakers today increasingly use the "indicative" (tensed) form as per your example #4. So it really depends what you mean by "correct" (what do native speakers actually say, as opposed to what do examiners expect you to give as the correct answer?). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jul 15 '17 at 15:06
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    @FumbleFingers I must be pedantic, but to me only 2) is OK. If you consider the time when the "advisory" was made, it would say something like "stay inside until ...". – user3169 Jul 15 '17 at 16:21
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    @FumbleFingers Thank heaven for an example in which the subjunctive is not only correct, but best! I reckon No. 2 must "sound right" to even the most dedicated hater, and "It was advised that we stayed" sounds like the mish-mash it is. Rather than close-vote this question, I propose that it be bronzed. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Jul 15 '17 at 18:39
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    @FumbleFingers One problem with this question is that today's native speakers will seldom begin a sentence with "It was advised that...", thus avoiding the issue of what might follow. Instead, we might hear the dummy subject, e.g.: "They advised us (to stay)..." – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Jul 15 '17 at 18:43
  • @P. E. Dant: In that case the example might just as well have contrasted They advised that we stayed indoors with They advised that we stay indoors. Switching from passive to active voice doesn't affect the specific (subjunctive) usage being queried. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jul 16 '17 at 12:31

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