Conditionals: The Subjunctive - Английский язык с Марией Батхан.

Conditionals: The Subjunctive

Conditionals: The Subjunctive


We use the Subjunctive mood to express situations that are possible, preferable, imaginary, desired, but sometimes unreal.


The subjunctive mood is used in complex sentences with the conjunction “that”

(a that-clause).


The tutor advised that the student go through the last two chapters again.


The verbs which are most commonly used in the subjunctive constructions are:

to wish, to ask, to recommend, to demand, to request, to suggest, to propose, to order, to advise, to insist, etc.


I insist you come tomorrow morning!

The policeman ordered that the burglar put his hands behind his head.

Grandpa asked that the kids turn the music down.


There are 2 forms of the Subjunctive mood: Subjunctive I and Subjunctive II.

The main difference is in the grammatical structure of a sentence.


Subjunctive I


It is a simple form constructed with a bare infinitive withoutto”!

Keep in mind that there is NO -s at the end of the verb in third person singular!


Present Subjunctive.


It is used after such structures as: “it is important that”, “it is necessary that”, “it is essential that”, etc.:


It’s important that he be present at the meeting.

It’s recommended that everybody stay at home during the pandemic.


In the negative form we put the particle NOT in front of a bare infinitive:


It is preferable that guests not smoke in the room.


No matter what tense is used in the main clause, the form of the Present Subjunctive remains the same in a subordinate clause!


The Company manager agrees that all the clauses be included in the contract.

The Company manager agreed that all the clauses be included in the contract.


Other cases with the subjunctive mood:




May all your dreams come true!


Strong wishes or advice with “I’d rather”


I’d rather you quit cursing. or

I’d rather you not curse in here.


Set phrases.


Let it be!

God bless you!


Unreal wishes.


I wish I were young and rich!

I wish I were you!


We also use an infinitive to refer to the situations in the past.


It was important that Ann visit her parents as often as possible.


Past Subjunctive is constructed with a verb in the past form; it expresses an unreal condition in the present or future.


If I knew English well, I would definitely get the job.

I wish I lived in Moscow.

It’s about time you finished your homework.

Suppose your parents had come home earlier than everybody left.


The Subjunctive mood is used in a subordinate clause after such conjunctions as:

as if”, “as though”, “if only” to express an unreal wish or regret.


It feels as though he were angry about something.

She behaves as if she were the boss here.

If only I were there to help them with their problem.


Subjunctive II is mostly used in a subordinate clause of a complex sentence.

It is constructed with the help of the modal verbs: should, would, might, could + a bare infinitive (without “to”!)


Present Subjunctive II means that there is an unreal situation which takes place in present or will take place in future.


It’s a shame you should think so.


Perfect Subjunctive II means that the situation has already happened.


It’s a pity that she should have missed the train.


It’s commonly used after such verbs as: to demand, to order, to insist, to command.


The citizens demanded that the mayor should resign.

He ordered that the boys should stay after the lesson and clean up the classroom.

The mother insisted that the kids should be home by 9 p.m.


The Subjunctive II is used in the main clause of a conditional sentence referring to the past with the modal verb should (1st person) and would (2nd and 3rd person) and a bare infinitive.


If you had warned me, I should never have gone there.

If he weren’t ill, he would go to the party with us.


If there were any vacant seats in the car, you would definitely come with us.


The Subjunctive II is used:


In object clauses after the verb “to wish”:


I wish I could help you.


In attributive clauses after the expressions: it is time, it is high time, it is about time.


It is high time you should make a decision.


In subordinate clauses after: it is strange, it is important, it is impossible and so on.


It is important that the staff should all be present at the meeting.


In adverbial clauses after as if, even if, as though, even though.


Even if they had invited me to their wedding, I wouldn’t have come.