Subjunctive: Structures, Usage & Examples

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The Subjunctive in English is the mood of a verb that always comes in the simple/base form. The subjunctive mood of verbs comes after some certain verbs indicating that one person wants/insists/desires another person to do something. Those certain verbs are called subjunctive verbs.

Subjunctive Verbs:

Advise Demand Prefer Require Ask
Insist Propose Stipulate Command Urge
Recommend Suggest Decree Order Request

The Structure of Subjunctive Mood:

Sub (1) + Subjunctive Verb (any tense) + that + Sub (2) + Base Form of Verb + Complement

Examples:

 - John has advised that Alex go to movies.

 - Robert insisted that I work on my paper. 

 - The principal demands that we study hard.

 - He suggested that I buy this shirt.

 - She proposed that we get married.

Here, the conjunction ‘that’ is as important with the subjunctive verbs. Without ‘that’, the structure changes a lot and does NOT follow the mood of subjunctives:

Sub + Subjunctive Verbs (any tense) + that + Object + Infinitive (to + verb) + Complement

Examples

 - We recommend you to go to movies.  (No ‘that’, no subjunctive)

 - He advised me to study hard.

However, the subjunctive verbs with the conjunction ‘that’ always follow the subjunctive mood (first structure). 

There are some adjectives also that create a subjunctive mood. These adjectives come after the ‘be verbs’ along with the conjunction ‘that’ and create a subjunctive mood for the next verb. These adjectives are called subjunctive adjectives.

Subjunctive Adjectives:

Advised Necessary Urgent Required Important
Obligatory Mandatory Suggested Recommended Imperative

Structure:

It + Be Verbs (any tense) + Subjunctive Adjective + that + Sub + Base Form of Verb + Comp

Examples:

 - It was advised that Alex go to movies.

 - It is imperative that I work on my paper. 

 - It was necessary that we study hard.

 - It is urgent that I buy a shirt.

 - It was required that we get married.

 

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