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Author Topic: Subjunctive Verb  (Read 59 times)
Lyndon Tidlos Gabato
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« on: January 01, 2018, 03:05:25 PM »

Hi Joe,

I just want to know if the subjunctive verb is still strictly used today or not anymore.

"I wish I were a butterfly" is certainly subjunctive, but would it be fine if someone can just say "I wish I was a butterfly"?

Thank you in advance.
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Joe Carillo
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2018, 06:54:00 PM »

You ask if we can just say "I wish I was a butterfly" instead of the subjunctive form "I wish I were a butterfly." You actually can often get away with it, but not if you have listeners who are knowledgeable and more discerning about English grammar. You see, a subjunctive sentence is one that denotes unreal acts or states that are contingent on possible outcomes of the speakerā€™s wish, desire, or doubt. Such sentences stick to the past-tense subjunctive form ā€œwereā€ all throughout, regardless of the person and number of its subject. In contrast, the sentence "I wish I was a butterfly" is in the indicative mood, which means that a human being turning into a butterfly is a real-world possibility--which of course it isn't.

As if you've read my mind, I have actually scheduled a series making a full-scale review of the subjunctive by the second half of this month (January 2018). Watch for it!
« Last Edit: January 01, 2018, 06:56:15 PM by Joe Carillo » Logged

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