English

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Etymology

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From subjunctive (from Latin subjunctivus, from sub- (under) + junctus (joined), perfect passive participle of jungere (to join) + adjective suffix -ivus) + mood (from Latin modus).

Noun

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Examples
  • If John were here, he would know what to do.
  • If this be liberty, then give me death!
  • I wish that I were there.
  • I want that he go.

subjunctive mood (plural subjunctive moods)

  1. (grammar) Mood expressing an action or state which is hypothetical or anticipated rather than actual, including wishes and commands.
    Synonyms: conjunctive, conjunctive mode, conjunctive mood, subjunctive, subjunctive mode

Usage notes

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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.

Translations

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Further reading

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