- (grammar) Mood expressing an action or state which is hypothetical or anticipated rather than actual, including wishes and commands.
Usage notes Edit
Subjunctive mood is used much more in some other languages, such as Spanish and Latin, than it is in English. Apart from the third-person singular form without the suffix -(e)s (I want that he go), modern English has only one verb that has mutually distinguishable indicative and subjunctive forms — be.
- be (subjunctive present, all persons except for archaic second-person singular)
- I suggest that that measure be taken.
- It is important that we all be at the meeting.
- beest (archaic second-person singular, subjunctive present)
- 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
- Stephano!—If thou beest Stephano, touch me, and speak to me; for I am Trinculo:—be not afeared—thy good friend Trinculo.
- wert (archaic second-person singular, subjunctive past)
- The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], 1611, →OCLC, Job 8:6: “If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, […] ”.
- The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], 1611, →OCLC, Revelation 3:15: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.”.
- were (subjunctive past, all persons except for archaic second-person singular)
- If John were here, he would know what to do.
- If they were in trouble, I would help them.
See also the conjugation at be.