0

Which one is correct? And why?

  1. "That would require that he imagine something."
  2. "That would require that he imagines something."
1

Both can be.

The former suggests that whatever-it-is would demand that he imagine something then and there. The latter suggests that there be a requirement that he already imagines something.

This is because the sentence structural position of "that he imagine(s) something" can take phrases of different nature, and a requirement can be to do something, or for some condition to be met. The first example is a required action, while the second is a required condition.

Even for the action, you would usually say "he imagines" - that's how it conjugates in the third person singular, after all. But when an action is stated to be required things work differently. I think, but I'm not sure, is that it uses the infinite, and sometimes infinitives can be bare - as they are when there is a requirement using "that". "I require you to be silent" is using a non-bare infinitive, while "I require that you be silent" uses the bare infinitive.

  • Answer updated :) – SamBC Feb 3 at 17:00
  • Is this not simply an example of the distinction between the use of the subjunctive If I were in your position and the popular If I was in your position....? – Ronald Sole Feb 3 at 23:36

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.