I read the following form in some source code comments:

Someone requested we not relay stuff

Though it is usually not a source of inspiration for literary English, it got me wondering whether this was actually acceptable or just a short-hand to get the idea. Shouldn't it rather be something like

Someone requested that we do not relay stuff


Someone requested from us not to relay stuff


1 Answer 1


The sentence "Someone requested we not relay stuff" would be a perfectly proper (or at least better) usage of the subjunctive if "that" were not omitted:

Someone requested that we not relay stuff.

To request is one of the verbs in English which can reveal the subjective mood. In English, the subjunctive has a present and a past form. The present form, which is used here, is the base form of the verb, or "bare infinitive," without the "to."

  • Just to be sure that I understand correctly, this is because the subjunctive does not require an auxiliary for the negation, not just something specific to to request?
    – Anab
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 22:28
  • @Anab - Precisely! The not is all you need. "I require that he not speak." "I suggest that they not investigate." "I insist that you not stand." Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 22:31
  • Thank you, my knowledge of the subjunctive was limited to the irregular were and I had never picked up on that one. :)
    – Anab
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 22:34

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