Could anyone explain to me why we add should subjunctive phrases, is it for more formality? I didn't grasp its role.

1 - They recommend that she should go to a ski resort in Spain.

And is it right to answer these question as follow:

A1- My supervisor said it would be a good idea for me to accept this new position.

A2- My supervisor suggested that I should accept this new position.

B1 - "He should fix it himself," I said.

B2 - I suggested that he should fix it himself.

  • They are mandative clauses but they are not subjunctive; rather, they are should mandatives. There is a difference - see James K's answer.
    – BillJ
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 7:18
  • "why we add should subjunctive phrases" <-- I don't understand this. Are you asking about why the subjunctive exists at all in English, or why we should add it in these particular sentences? (And if the latter, do you believe that it is already included in these sentences or not?) Or are you asking something else? Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 13:36
  • The purpose of my question is what's the difference between A2- My supervisor suggested that I should accept this new position. and A3-My supervisor suggested that I accept this new position. Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 18:21
  • For me, “He suggested that she should X” sounds redundant. I’d prefer either, “He suggested that she X” or, “He told her she should X.” To me the subjunctive is completely natural, but perhaps I am betraying my age (mid sixties) and level of education? I have no reason to doubt that lots of speakers use “suggest…should” without a qualm. Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 23:25

1 Answer 1


These are not pure subjunctive verb phrases, these use the modal "should". This is fine. The modal is the normal way of phrasing expressions that give advice.

The subjunctive is more formal and rather rare. In the subjunctive the verb has its basic form even in the third person. It can be triggered by words like "suggest" or "recommend":

They recommend that she go to a ski resort in Spain.

In formal style, the subjunctive is an alternative to using "should".

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