The construction past/present simple + infinitive is often used. Some examples are:

— He wanted you to come with me.
— I suggest you to do this.


  1. Do these constructions invoke the subjunctive mood?
  2. Can the above examples be rephrased?
  • 2
    The subjunctive is often used after to advise (that), ask, command, demand, desire, insist, propose, recommend, request, suggest, urge, but it's not normally relevant to need. Dec 20 '15 at 15:18
  • When need is a synonym for must it can be so marked. "Need they be placed so close to the window?" Dec 20 '15 at 15:55
  • 2
    Sorry for not being clear! I meant we can't use I suggest you to do this. However, I suggest (that) you (should) do this is just fine. Dec 20 '15 at 16:39
  • 1
    I hope so! I think some of us can. I only have a very good idea how to use them (or maybe, how not to use them), but it's probably too shaky to turn my idea into an answer. Maybe I should pitch it a bit anyway. IMHO, "mood" is about "form", which is close but not identical to modality. (Some linguists argue that English has no mood, because in the so-called subjunctive mood, verbs don't change in form.) From a practical viewpoint, subjunctive is mostly used in mandative sentences, which is typically used with verbs FumbleFingers gave, and "It is important ..." like CopperKettle mentioned. Dec 20 '15 at 17:00
  • 2
    @Subjunctive: You could probably justify starting a whole new SO site to list all possible contexts where "subjunctive" might be involved. But to my mind it's not very relevant to modern English anyway. Everyone likes to quote the example The subjunctive is dead! Long live the subjunctive! (where live is itself a subjunctive usage). But if that's not enough for you, the link I posted above goes into more detail. Your suggest example wouldn't be acceptable to many native speakers (but it'd be okay with recommend). Dec 20 '15 at 18:29

He wanted you to come with me.

Not subjunctive; the "to" would be omitted in the subjunctive mood. You could rephrase to something close in the subjunctive: "He expressed his desire that you come with me".

— I suggest you to do this.

This is somewhat uncommon, although I'm not sure it's officially wrong... I would use "I suggest that you do this" (subjunctive) instead. It can also be rephrased in the indicative mood, as "I advise you to do this". The difference is that you suggest something (optionally, to someone), but you advise someone (optionally, to do something).

  • 1
    It's interesting. All of these sentences trigger the subjunctive mood in my language.
    – Alejandro
    Dec 24 '15 at 0:18

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.