I have a question about "The verbs with the general meaning of suggestion and form of verbs"

a) She declined a seat beside Charles on the sofa. She insisted that Jane sit there. (subjunctive verb)

b) She declined a seat beside Charles on the sofa. She insisted that Jane sits there.(indicative verb)

c) She declined a seat beside Charles on the sofa. She insisted that Jane sat there.

sentence a and sentence b are grammatically correct in my opinion but I am not sure about sentence c. is sentence c grammatically and idiomatically correct?

I have seen a sentence in this structure (sentence c) in a website but I have not seen somewhere else.

1 Answer 1


I would say a., but I wouldn't blink if I heard somebody say c. But b. is very odd - the tenses don't match.

  • All three are possible, I think, if (with some effort) you imagine the right context, e.g. "She insisted that Jane (normally) sits there (so she would not take Jane's customary place)". But I'm not sure if that properly answers OP's question.
    – Andrew
    Jul 14, 2018 at 5:51
  • I think three of the sentences are correct grammatically but they have different meanings. sentence 1 and sentence 2 are in the same meaning but sentence 3 has different meaning. sentence 1 and sentence 2 can be made in a context like this ''jane was told to sit there'' but in which concept sentence 3 can be used? İs senetence c used in a context like this.? Someone else is telling that jane sat there. She did not tell jane to sit there, she is just talking about jane and telling someoneelse that jane sat there Am I right?
    – ullas84
    Jul 14, 2018 at 7:32
  • No, @ullas84, I think you're misunderstanding. Yes, they are all three grammatical, but b. is strange because of sequence of tenses. a. is normal for people who use the so-called subjunctive 'sit', which is effectively tenseless. When not using the subjunctive, English backshifts its tenses, so the past tense "insisted" requires a past tense "sat" in the object clause. b. only makes sense, as Andrew pointed out, with a habitual meaning for "sits".
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 14, 2018 at 9:29
  • Let me ask it in an other way. in situation 1 , I want to say that I told jane, I insisted her to buy a golden neckle ,I would say it in this way ; I insisted that jane buys a golden neckle in situation 2 If I tell someone else about jane and try to convince that person that jane bought a golden neckle (I have no effect on the fact that jane bought a golden neckle, I am just telling someone else about the fact that jane bought a golden neckle). As you see this sentence can have 2 different meanings. it means the sentence is ambigious by itself and can mean differently depending on context?
    – ullas84
    Jul 14, 2018 at 10:45
  • and in situance 2 I would say in the same way as in situation 1. ''I insisted that jane buys a golden neckle.'' suggestig 2 different situations with the same sentence .
    – ullas84
    Jul 14, 2018 at 11:17

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