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I have a question regarding the correct usage of 'insist' in a sentence.

So, I don't know which one I should write:

  1. My mother insisted that I should stay at home for a couple of days due to my illness.

or,

  1. My mother insisted that I am staying at home for a couple of days due to my illness.

2 Answers 2

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According to the definition, insist by itself does not make anything happen.

So you should use should since it is natural to consider doing what your mother says, but you certainly don't have to. (In this statement I also use "should", since it is my recommendation but ultimately your choice how to say it.)

So it is correct to say:

My mother insisted that I should stay at home for a couple of days due to my illness.

am is better suited to a statement where something will certainly be done. For example:

I don't care what my mother says, I am going to that party.

2
  1. My mother insisted that I should stay at home for a couple of days due to my illness.

This sentence is okay.

  1. My mother insisted that I am staying at home for a couple of days due to my illness.

This sentence is okay grammaticaly, but the meaning is off kilter: it does not say that your mother wanted you to stay at home.

What it means is that your mother was telling to someone (maybe even to you) that you are at home for a couple of days due to your illness. She was telling this in an insistent manner, but she wasn't commanding anybody to stay at home. She was trying to convince, not to command.

We can transform sentence 2 in a sentence equal in meaning to sentence 1:

My mother insisted that I stay at home for a couple of days due to my illness.

Such construction is called "mandative subjunctive" and is used to express a circumstance that is demanded, desired, etc.

The Wikipedia article on subjunctive points out the possible confusion between the indicative and subjunctive mood in sentences with insist, suggest and propose:

I insist that he is here (indicative, a forceful assertion of the fact that he is here)
I insist that he be here (subjunctive, a demand that the condition of his being here be fulfilled)

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