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I read the following sentence:

I wanted my daughter to make her bed.

If I wish to use the subjunctive mood instead of the (more usual) infinitive form, would it be "I wanted that my daughter made her bed" ?

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  • How can it be subjunctive with past tense "made"? The subjunctive uses the plain form of the verb -- in this case "make", as in "I demanded that my daughter make her bed". In any case, the verb "want" does not license subjunctive clauses.
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 7:42
  • Is en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_subjunctive wrong then? It mentions "Try to imagine a tool that made that easy for citizens" as an example of past subjunctive Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 10:33
  • There's no subjunctive clause in that example. As I said, a subjunctive contains a plain form of the verb as in the example I gave you.
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 11:01

1 Answer 1

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"I wanted that my daughter made her bed" doesn't contain a subjunctive. The subjunctive of make is always make. ('I insisted he make some toast.')

If you were to look at some examples of the subjunctive mood you might notice how often it takes 'that':

You demand that I be available

I ask that you be truthful

it's essential that she be here.

But when it is used as a conjunction, that can't follow I wanted.

I insisted that my daughter make her bed uses the subjunctive correctly, but it doesn't precisely mean "I wanted my daughter to make her bed".

I asked that her bed be made also uses the subjunctive but it doesn't say who should make the bed!

I wished my daughter's bed were made by her is absurdly convoluted!

The original sentence is fine. The subjunctive mood is not suitable for all sentences.

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  • The subjunctive is a mood, not a tense, therefore there is no such a thing as "subjunctive of make". I suppose you meant the "subjunctive present of make". Reference: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_subjunctive Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 18:50
  • @Alan Evangelista Yes, you're right. It was a typo. I meant the "subjunctive form of make". I directed the questioner to grammar-monster.com/glossary/subjunctive_mood.htm because it explains the subjunctive mood simply. "The subjunctive form of 'make'" is their phraseology. There is indeed no "subjunctive of 'make'". Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 0:11
  • @AlanEvangelista No: modern grammar considers the subjunctive to be a clause type that uses a plain form of the verb.
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 9:23
  • @AlanEvangelista No: English does not have an inflectional mood system. Your confusing English with Latin, which does have a subjunctive mood. In English, the subjunctive is a clause type that uses a plain form of the verb. Forget the rubbish you read on the 'Net.
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 9:43
  • @BillJ I see two distinct inflections in "You demand that I be available" and "I wish he were here". Anyway, I understand now that the subjunctive present is used for past, present and future and therefore its name is misleading. Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 16:27

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