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Forming the Subjunctive Mood

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips
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The English language provides another mood, the subjunctive mood. It was used far more frequently in the olden days. In modern times, we use it mainly to show:

1. situations contrary to fact 2. wishes 3. suppositions 4. commands 5. suggestions 6. necessity

The first three usually show up with constructions of the verb to be. The last three occur not only with to be as well but also with action verbs.

Subjunctive Mood of the Verb To Be

We form the subjunctive mood of the verb to be like this:

Person Indicative Subjunctive
I am/was be/were
you are/were be/were
he, she, it is/was be/were
we, you, they are/were be/were

Subjunctive Mood of Action Verbs

We form the subjunctive for other verbs by dropping the -s ending for third-person singular verbs. Here’s the verb to complete:

Person Indicative Subjunctive
I complete complete
you complete complete
he, she, it completes complete
we, you, they complete complete


As you can see, for action verbs, the subjunctive differs only for the third-person singular.


Previous: Chapter 5 - Subjunctive Mood

Next: Situations Requiring the Subjunctive Mood

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