I was studying and I found this phrase.

You may have had a person ask you, "Don't you agree?" before.

So I got thinking about these things.

  1. I would like to know why we don't use the 3rd person conjugation for the verb to ask (asks) in this phrase. I suppose this is a case of the subjunctive mood. in that case, could you explain to me the trigger? or it's just the set phrase that active the subjunctive mood but not anything else.
  2. I understand the structure "may/might have+ participle" used to express past probability. But I don't understand the structure "you have a person+ verb" can you please explain it to me?
  • There's no subjunctive clause in your example. "Have had a person" is present perfect tense, where "had" means, roughly, 'received' or 'encountered'. Note that Present-day English does not have a subjunctive mood.
    – BillJ
    Jun 14, 2022 at 6:46

1 Answer 1


This is not a subjunctive, it is a bare infinitive of the form

have him do something

This construction is a causative verbal form, the verb "have" has its object "him" (which also functions to imply the subject of the following infinitive) and then a complement in the form of a bare infinitive.

The meaning is "cause a person to ask you", but in this sense the cause is probably just "been in a situation in which a person asked you" and the sentence could have been rephrased as "You may have been asked" with little change in meaning.

We can tell that it's not a subjunctive, since a subjunctive verb would require an explicit subject, and no explicit subject is present. Note that "him" is in the object form.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .