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Subjunctive


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This verb form requires a specific form in English. It is used to describe an action that is important or necessary. That is, the action of the second subject is important or necessary, generally, to the first subject. Let’s look at the form first, and then a method of finding the subjunctive.

The subjunctive tense always takes the dictionary form. Here is a three step process for recognizing the subjunctive:

1. Look out for the word “that” (be careful, “that” on its own does not automatically mean a subjunctive. “That” has many uses.).

2. Is the word before “that” a word of importance? Remember that such a word can be a verb, noun, or adjective.

3. The verb that follows the subject, no matter what number that subject happens to be, is always in the dictionary form.


Sample Usage

WRONG: It is imperative that he is here before the meeting begins.
RIGHT: It is imperative that he be here before the meeting begins.

WRONG: The trainer recommended that Robert drives more carefully.
RIGHT: The trainer recommended that Robert drive more carefully.

WRONG: The honors committee would not waive the requirement that Robert has letters of recommendation from his professors
RIGHT: The honors committee would not waive the requirement that Robert have letters of recommendation from his professors.



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