All About The Subjunctive Mood (With Examples)

The subjunctive mood is the verb form utilized to explore hypothetical circumstances (“If I were you”) or to express a wish, demand, or suggestion (“I demand he be present”).

What Is “Mood?”

Mood is what form that a verb takes to show how it is to be regarded (as a fact, a wish, a command, an uncertainty).

There are three main moods in English:

  • The Indicative Mood. This states a fact or asks questions. For instance:
    • They are playing the piano.
    • Are they playing the piano?
  • The Imperative Mood. This expresses a command or a request. For instance:
    • Play the piano!
    • Please play the piano.
  • The Subjunctive Mood. This shows a wish or doubt. Some more examples:
    • I suggest that Laura play the piano.
    • I propose that Laura be asked to play the piano.
    • If I were Laura, I would play the piano.

Simple Examples of the Subjunctive Mood

  • If it were me, I would go.
  • (As this explores a hypothetical circumstance, “was” becomes “were.”)
  • I wished it were real.
  • (As this exhibits a wish, “was” becomes “were.”)
  • It is essential that the wedding begin at once.
  • (As this exhibits a demand, “begins” becomes “begin.”)
  • I suggest he work part time.
  • (As this exhibits a suggestion, “works” becomes “work.”)

Verbs That Attract the Subjunctive Mood

The following verbs frequently attract the subjunctive mood: “to command,” “to demand,” “to insist,” “to ask,” “to order,” “to recommend,” “to wish,” and “to suggest,”.

  • All we ask of the president is that he be personable. It seems we have given up on the Pentagon’s dishonest use of our tax dollars.
  • Saddam Hussein systematically infringed on every UN resolution that demanded he disarm and dismantle his chemical and biological weapons. 
  • Do not make election popularity a matter of which candidate hires the most inventive propagandists. Insist that it be a continuing conversation with the public. 
  • If you’re a dog and your owner proposes that you wear a sweater, suggest that he wear a tail.

Adjectives That Attract the Subjunctive Mood

These next adjectives – especially when used with the word “that” – oftentimes attract the subjunctive mood: “important,” “crucial,” “essential,” “imperative,” and “necessary”

  • It’s necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. 
  • When unseen forces come together to supply a man with the strength and capacity to achieve something significant, it is essential that he ause the time responsibly and timely. 

Set Phrases Featuring the Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood is also featured in some well-known terms.

  • May The Force be with you. (Star Wars)
  • God bless you.

(A wish that “God bless you”.)

  • God save the Queen.

(A wish that “God save the Queen”.)

  • The scientist is ready to bear hardship and, if needs be, starvation rather than let anyone dictate which direction his work must take. 

What Is Mood?

Mood is what form that a verb takes to show how it is to be regarded (as a fact, a wish, a command, an uncertainty).

There are three main moods in English:

  • The Indicative Mood. This states a fact or asks questions. For instance:
    • They are playing the piano.
    • Are they playing the piano?
  • The Imperative Mood. This expresses a command or a request. For instance:
    • Play the piano!
    • Please play the piano.
  • The Subjunctive Mood. This shows a wish or doubt. Some more examples:
    • I suggest that Laura play the piano.
    • I propose that Laura be asked to play the piano.
    • If I were Laura, I would play the piano.

The subjunctive mood is the verb form utilized to explore hypothetical circumstances (“If I were you”) or to express a wish, demand, or suggestion (“I demand he be present”).

Simple Examples of the Subjunctive Mood

  • If it were me, I would go.
  • (As this explores a hypothetical circumstance, “was” becomes “were.”)
  • I wished it were real.
  • (As this exhibits a wish, “was” becomes “were.”)
  • It is essential that the wedding begin at once.
  • (As this exhibits a demand, “begins” becomes “begin.”)
  • I suggest he work part time.
  • (As this exhibits a suggestion, “works” becomes “work.”)

Verbs That Attract the Subjunctive Mood

The following verbs frequently attract the subjunctive mood: “to command,” “to demand,” “to insist,” “to ask,” “to order,” “to recommend,” “to wish,” and “to suggest,”.

  • All we ask of the president is that he be personable. It seems we have given up on the Pentagon’s dishonest use of our tax dollars.
  • Saddam Hussein systematically infringed on every UN resolution that demanded he disarm and dismantle his chemical and biological weapons. 
  • Do not make election popularity a matter of which candidate hires the most inventive propagandists. Insist that it be a continuing conversation with the public. 
  • If you’re a dog and your owner proposes that you wear a sweater, suggest that he wear a tail.

Adjectives That Attract the Subjunctive Mood

These next adjectives – especially when used with the word “that” – oftentimes attract the subjunctive mood: “important,” “crucial,” “essential,” “imperative,” and “necessary”

  • It’s necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. 
  • When unseen forces come together to supply a man with the strength and capacity to achieve something significant, it is essential that he use the time responsibly and timely. 

Set Phrases Featuring the Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood is also featured in some well-known terms.

  • May The Force be with you. (Star Wars)
  • God bless you.

(A wish that “God bless you”.)

  • God save the Queen.

(A wish that “God save the Queen”.)

  • The scientist is ready to bear hardship and, if needs be, starvation rather than let anyone dictate which direction his work must take.

Related: If I “Was” or If I “Were

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