Subjunctive

Once upon a time :D, a student just called me and asked me about a sentence: “I advised that she comes on time”. He was confused on how to tell the mistake from the sentence. I told him it was the word ‘comes’. It should be ‘come’. The sentence is SUBJUNCTIVE. For more information, I’m going to explain it by quoting Swan’s SUBJUNCTIVE theory (1996: 566).
 
FORMS AND MEANINGS
 
The subjunctive is a special kind of PRESENT TENSE which HAS NO -s in the third person singular. It’s sometimes used in that-clauses in a FORMAL STYLE, especially in AMERICAN ENGLISH, after words which express the idea that something is important or desirable (e.g. suggest, recommend, ask, insist, vital, essential, important, advise). The same form are used in both present and past sentences.
 
Example:
1. It is essential that every child HAVE the same educational opportunities.
2. We felt that it was important that James WRITE to uncle Arthur as soon as possible.
3. We advise that the company INVEST in new equipment.
4. We recommended that she BE elected. (not to be nor is)
 
FIXED PHRASES
 
Subjunctive are also used in certain fixed phrases, such as:
1. God SAVE the King/Queen!
2. God BLESS you.
3. Long LIVE the King!
4. Heaven FORBID.
5. He’s a sort of adopted uncle, as it WERE. (= … in a way)
6. BE that as it may, …. (= Whether that is true or not, ….)
7. If we have to pay $2,000, then so BE it. (= We can’t do anything to change it)
 
EXCEPTIONS (OTHER STRUCTURES)!!
 
In British English, however, the form of subjunctive is a bit different. In that-clauses, British people usually prefer SHOULD+INFINITIVE or ordinary PRESENT and PAST tenses.
 
Example:
1. He suggests that she SHOULD GO to the party.
2. We advise that he GETS a map.
3. They recommended that she CAME to class.
 
So, that’s all the explanation about subjunctive. If you have additional explanations, please do share. And if I’m mistaken, please do correct. Thank you.

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