I told the stylist I wanted my hair cut short
I told the stylist I wanted my hair to be cut short
I told the stylist I wanted that my hair be cut short

What is your opinions about the sentences above?

As far as I know, when you want change it to the subjunctive, you leave out to be, but you said other things (in another question of mine)!

In addition, I almost know the rules of English subjunctive. However, considering what Wikipedia says below, I think we should leave out to be and the apostrophes,

Notice that the subjunctive is not generally used after verbs such as hope and expect, or after verbs that use a different syntax, such as want (it is not usual to say **I want that he wash up*; the typical syntax is I want him to wash up).

Source: Wikipedia

  • 1
    I think it's not a duplicate, but for reference purpose, here is a link for the mentioned question. @nima_persian The reason that the "subjunctive mood" wasn't mentioned is because the subjunctive isn't used after verbs such as "want" as your source says. To use the subjunctive, it's possible to say something like this: It's important that my hair be short. – Damkerng T. Mar 19 '14 at 5:35

The three statements about the hair are all perfectly fine, but the first two versions are definitely preferable and much more natural; no standard English speaker would utter the third.

As for the 'to be', it's optional. You would drop it to lower the word count or save yourself half a second.

I would say the second, just because I parse it in that manner in my head. The first may be more natural to you. It's... a matter of opinion.


All three are correct, but the third one that uses the subjunctive is a wee bit archaic in Modern English. I don't know whether I would go so far as to say that no English speaker would utter it as stated above because I have uttered it before, but it's been done for stylistic purposes and not because that's how I speak on a daily basis. If you said all three of those, no one would have trouble understanding you; however, the third one might get looks unless you should be like me and like to play around with language as most people know I'm saying it humorously or histrionically.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.