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46 votes

I demand that he leave or leaves?

Technically speaking, only this one is correct: I demand that he/this man leave! The reason why that one is correct while the other one is not has to do with the fact that what we're dealing here ...
Michael Rybkin's user avatar
46 votes
Accepted

Why does Obi-Wan use 'were' in "He wanted you to have it when you were old enough"?

Let's clear up some grammar points first. Time clauses about the future never include "will", and almost always use a present tense: When I am older, I'll be a doctor. After I win, I'm ...
gotube's user avatar
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27 votes

I demand that he leave or leaves?

I demand that he leave! I demand that he leaves! These are both examples of what are known as ᴍᴀɴᴅᴀᴛɪᴠᴇ ᴄᴏɴsᴛʀᴜᴄᴛɪᴏɴs. Sentences such as example (1) are known as sᴜʙᴊᴜɴᴄᴛɪᴠᴇ ᴍᴀɴᴅᴀᴛɪᴠᴇs. Examples ...
Araucaria - Not here any more.'s user avatar
22 votes

"If something was" vs "If something were"

Use were (instead of was) in statements that are contrary to fact. In your sentences it should definitely be: "What if the Moon were a Disco ball" - It's not true, that's why we use the subjunctive, ...
SovereignSun's user avatar
  • 25.1k
21 votes

Why "had" in "[something] we would have made had we used [something]"?

Your quotation is an example of a past unreal conditional sentence with inversion that is more formal than those that follow the usual word order: SHFs simulate the errors we would have made had we ...
Lucian Sava's user avatar
  • 11.5k
13 votes

Is it grammatically correct to use "want" in a subjunctive sentence?

Wanting a big house isn't dependent on having a lot of money - being able to buy one is! So your sentence doesn't really work. You could say "I want/would like to buy a big house. If only I had a ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 56.1k
12 votes
Accepted

Usage of wish for expressing regret

You're missing nothing: as you believe, the correct answer is 1. had met. When wish takes a complement content clause† the verb is always in 'subjunctive' mood—this requires that the ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Did the printer get sick or not in fact?

Yes, the printer got sick. (Or at least the speaker asserts that he in fact got sick.) Would is used here in the sense 'be willing, consent', with overtones of the sense 'persist (in a particular ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
10 votes

What's the grammar of "rescued" in "may the Heaven rescued land"?

May a flea-bitten dog be your best friend. A dog bitten by fleas. the Heav'n-rescued land The land rescued by Heaven. rescued is the past-participle there.
TimR's user avatar
  • 128k
10 votes
Accepted

Why "had" in "[something] we would have made had we used [something]"?

"had we used this forecasting method" means that the forecasters did not use that forecasting method in the past, but if they had, then a certain amount of error would have occurred. SHF is a ...
David Siegel's user avatar
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9 votes
Accepted

"If something was" vs "If something were"

We use the preterite (past tense form) when expressing a counterfactuality. If she loved me, I would change my job (but she doesn't love me). But when it's a form of the verb to be, we can use "...
Mohd Zulkanien Sarbini's user avatar
9 votes

I demand that he leave or leaves?

The sentence "I demand that he leave." is correct English. The verb "to leave" is in the subjunctive mood. To my ear it sounds better than "I demand that he leaves." although people ...
dwilli's user avatar
  • 4,817
9 votes
Accepted

If I had a daughter who (is/were/was) cute, I would be very happy

UPDATE I'm no longer sure about my answer. I have been thinking about this over and over in the past few days but cannot reach a definite conclusion for myself. Hence, 'was' instead of 'were' might be ...
JoHKa's user avatar
  • 498
9 votes
Accepted

Two questions about the 4th verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner"

In the English of the nineteenth century, and to some extent today, "shall" in the second or third person expresses determination, obligation or volition. This was never a subjunctive, ...
James K's user avatar
  • 225k
8 votes

If I had a daughter who (is/were/was) cute, I would be very happy

I wonder whether this question is involved enough to belong over on English.SE for a purely academic treatment. In a language-learner’s context, though, I’d suggest that the more idiomatic answer is ...
thehole's user avatar
  • 324
7 votes
Accepted

Why 'be' and not 'is' in the line "If it be your will that I speak no more, and my voice be still as it was before"?

The author uses the base form of the verb "be" because it is a subjunctive construction. The subjunctive in English is used to form sentences that do not describe known objective facts. These ...
CowperKettle's user avatar
  • 36.6k
7 votes

What's the meaning of "be it" used in this sentence below?

"be it" is like "Whether it is" to introduce lists or alternatives.
Kundan's user avatar
  • 149
7 votes
Accepted

Why does the author use "would ask" instead of "asked" in this passage?

Under normal circumstances, "finally asked", and "finally would ask" are not quite the same. "Asked" is for an event that happened in the past. "Would ask" can be used in either of 2 ways: for an ...
Lorel C.'s user avatar
  • 11.6k
7 votes

Two questions about the 4th verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner"

As JamesK’s answer says, “shall” marks a future tense, nothing more. Well, possibly with a sense of determination (they’re determined to stand up and defend their homes) rather than simply occurring ...
Tim Pederick's user avatar
  • 8,325
6 votes
Accepted

"imagine" subjunctive

Yes, you are correct. The verb "imagine" does open up a past subjunctive clause: "I can imagine [that] there were a policeman there." Most native English speakers hate the subjunctive so they ...
Nicholas Castagnola's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Does "should have behaved" means different from "behaved" in this sentence?

Your example "should have behaved" is a kind of "affected" speech that sounds formal and a bit posh or old-fashioned, like the kind of conversation you might hear spoken by wealthy characters in a ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.4k
6 votes
Accepted

Is there a future in the past for the subjunctive?

Both of your example sentences are perfectly fine. In fact the subjunctive clause is completely independent of time, and the actual temporal context can only be determined from the rest of the ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.4k
6 votes

Is there a future in the past for the subjunctive?

[1] In 1905, he suggested that she buy that book. [2] In 1905, he suggested that she should buy that book. They are both okay; just two different ways of saying the same thing, really. Your ...
BillJ's user avatar
  • 17.1k
6 votes

"if we are to" VS "if we were to"

Your two sentences have different meanings. If we are to meet the Paris climate goals, the use of fossil-based materials must be quickly reduced and replaced with renewable materials. This means ...
Jason Bassford's user avatar
5 votes

Is this rule "If" specific?

were when used in cases like that is the "past subjunctive". The subjunctive is used to refer to things other than actual facts; e.g. counterfactual statements or indirect commands. If I were the ...
eques's user avatar
  • 4,485
5 votes
Accepted

Replacing gerund with subjunctive construction

No, you can't, because the replacement means the opposite thing. The original sentence talks about an objection in response to (and therefore opposing) the partial payment. But the new sentence has an ...
Nathan Tuggy's user avatar
  • 9,514
5 votes

Use of "would rather" with different subjects

Your interpretations of all the meanings except 3 are correct: 3 means "he wishes he had joined medicine". You alternative ways of phrasing it (Q1.2 and Q4.2) are not correct, though. I would ...
JavaLatte's user avatar
  • 60k
5 votes

Does "should have behaved" means different from "behaved" in this sentence?

Most of the time "should have" is used to talk about something we did not do, but it was a good idea to do it. Now, when we are talking about the past, we realize our mistake: I had an accident ...
Victor B.'s user avatar
  • 9,555
5 votes

The condition that {something} be {something} . .

We could use is to communicate essentially the same idea: The condition that a function is continuous is (some declaration). The reason you question the use of be in the fragment is likely that it ...
Jim Reynolds's user avatar
  • 9,997

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