If I organise an event and allow only people who bought a ticket, how do I construct a sentence with "require" and the subjunctive mood to express the requirement?

  1. We require that everybody bought a ticket.
  2. We require everybody to have bought a ticket. (Well, this is not really a subjunctive mood as far as I concern, so I would like to avoid this style. Nonetheless, I'm interested how correct and natural it is)
  3. We require that everybody have bought a ticket.
  4. Another option?

Does the answer change if the requirement changes into "people who have ever been to Czechia"?

  • I think you mean subjunctive. The present tense of require is always going to conflict with past tenses of buy. I can't vouch for Czech. – user105719 Jan 16 '20 at 9:35
  • Correct, I meant "subjunctive", thanks ;) I'll correct it. – musialmi Jan 16 '20 at 13:42
  • This is a bit of an XY problem: The solution to most questions about the subjunctive is "don't use the subjunctive" It has been virtually dropped from English grammar. Instead "You must have a ticket" or something like that. English works with modals, not moods. – James K Aug 3 '20 at 22:12

First I would change the "bought a ticket" to "have a ticket" or "a ticket is needed". After all, you probably don't care who bought it, but only who has one when they get there :)

A friendly reminder would be "A ticket is needed for admission" (no ticket, you don't get in)

A more stern reminder would be "A ticket is required to get in" (like a teacher telling her students "This book is required reading to pass")

  • A funny one, because I couldn't stop thinking about it :) lord of the rings: "(Gandalf)Thou shall not pass! unless thou has a ticket" – Michael Mortensen Jan 16 '20 at 10:01
  • Thank you, although this is just an example I made up. I'm not organising any event, I wanted to enquire about grammar :D – musialmi Jan 16 '20 at 13:45

The present subjunctive is the same as the infinitive form of the verb, and doesn't change according to the subject. You form it like this:

We require that everyone buy a ticket.

We require that he buy a ticket (non subjunctive would be he buys).

We require that everyone be seated at 10pm.

We require that he be seated at 10pm (using be to illustrate).

The past subjective is the same as the past tense form that is not the third person singular, even if the subject is third person singular.

We required that he were seated at 10pm (not was).

We required that he have his ticket ready at 10pm (not has).

We required that everyone bought a ticket (bought is same for all subjects in past tense form).

Structures with to have + X, to do + X and to be + X follow the same rules; the verb that changes is have, do, or be like it would in past or present tenses.

We wish that she do look for the lost item before filing a report (though this would probably be "We do wish that she look for the lost item ...")

We require that he have bought his ticket by 10pm (not has bought).

We require that the ticket be bought by 10pm (not was bought).

  • "We require that the ticket be bought by 10pm (not was bought)" - but why not "were bought"? Thank you; so from my guesses the correct ones would be both 1. and 3., right? What about the Czechia example? – musialmi Feb 21 '20 at 8:53

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.