If you’re a dedicated language learner, you know that there are several types of sentences:
Statements, questions, commands, and so on.
But what happens when we want to talk about a situation that is not guaranteed to occur? That’s where the subjunctive mood comes in! To put it in simple terms, the subjunctive mood is used to talk about a desired or hypothetical situation. Now let’s jump in…
Subjunctive conditionals are made up of two parts. The subjunctive clause proposes a scenario that is not currently real, and then the indicative clause completes that scenario by describing what would happen if it were.
- If I were to relocate, I would move to the countryside.
- He would clean his room if he had more time.
- If she were rich, she would travel around the world.
Notice how “was” changes to “were” no matter the subject noun? This is intentional and one of the main tells that a sentence is subjunctive.
Advice, Recommendations, and Demands
In that-clauses, certain verbs trigger a subjunctive format. These include “demand”, “suggest”, “advise”, “request”, etc.
- I suggest that you keep your distance.
- It is recommended that we send a small gift.
- She asks that everyone be patient.
Subjunctive verbs are used in their base form. “Be” does not turn into “is”, “am”, or “are” as it normally would.
If I were you…
This structure is common for giving indirect suggestions on a recommended course of action.
- If I were you, I would hire a lawyer.
- I wouldn’t lease a car if I were you.
Wishes and Desires
To express a want or hope for something to happen, use “wish” in subjunctive sentences.
- I wish you would tell me what you think.
- He wishes he were more intelligent.
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