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



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."

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  • 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 Jul 22 '16 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." – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Jul 22 '16 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 Jul 22 '16 at 22:34

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