Below is an extract from a news article and I am confused where with texts in bold. My interpretation is that the lawyers have asked someone (perhaps from the authority) to have Djokovic transferred to a place nicer than where he is currently kept. But I cannot understand why it says 'asked he be moved' instead of 'asked him be moved'?

While he awaits a final decision, Djokovic's lawyers have asked he be moved from the immigration detention hotel that has often been criticised by refugees for its poor conditions where he is currently being held, to "a more suitable place of detention" that would allow him to train ahead of the Australian Open.

1 Answer 1


This is a subjunctive. And they are rather rare and formal in modern English.

The standard way to express this is to write "asked for him to be moved".

Alternatively you can use a subordinator "that": "asked that he be moved".

However an alternative is to use a clause with a subjunctive verb and no subordinator. Here it is also passive. The clause with the subjunctive verb has a subject which is in the usual subject form (unlike the implied subject in the infinitive clause above)

So you can say

I asked she write to her mother.

It is a formal and rare form of

I asked for her to write to her mother.


I asked he be moved to a more suitable place.

is the same meaning as

I asked for him to be moved to a more suitable place.

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