Subjunctive mood can be made by ''were'' and ''be''


a)İt is important that they be aware of the provisions of the act.

b)Sally wishes she were taller.

İs it possible to make sentence b in this way;

Sally wishes she be taller(as in sentence a) ?

if yes, İs there any difference in meaning between (Sally wishes she be

taller) and (Sally wishes she were taller)


  • 1
    "She wishes she were taller" is not a subjunctive clause, This "were" is a mood form called 'irrealis'. Many speakers use "was" instead, the main difference being one of style: irrealis "were" is more formal than preterite "was". link
    – BillJ
    Oct 29, 2018 at 7:04

1 Answer 1


Bascially, no.

The two forms sometimes called "subjunctive" in English grammar, are very different in their usage and frequency.

The so-called "past subjunctive" is identical with the simple past in every case except "were" vs "was". It is normally used in writing in counter-factual conditionals ("If he were"; "I wish I were"). Some people use it in speech, but many do not.

The so-called present subjunctive is indistinguishable from the base form of the verb in all cases. The only common use of it is in formal contexts of meetings and committees, after verbs like "resolve", "decide", "mandate". eg "The committee resolved that the matter be discussed at the next full meeting". Many people prefer to use a modal instead, such as "that the matter should be discussed".

I believe that it is unhelpful to refer to this as "subjunctive" at all, and prefer to call it a use of the base form, or infinitive (without 'to').

The other use of the present subjunctive is archaic: it is only used in a few set phrases (notably "Long live X"), and for deliberate archaism (eg "If he be the rightful king").

  • It's identical to the base form, but still distinct from the indicative in the 3rd person singular (no -s). It's still "subjunctive" since that term refers not only to an inflection pattern but a grammatical meaning (that it doesn't represent a real state).
    – eques
    Nov 1, 2018 at 22:23

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