grammar tip discussed the
indicative and the imperative
moods. This week we'll discuss the subjunctive mood.
The subjunctive mood expresses a condition that is
contrary to the fact, belief, or expectation of the speaker
or writer (Kolln, 135). The mood is often denoted by an
if-clause and avoids the –s form of the verb (were
instead of was or had instead of has).
If-Clause: In the case of
subjunctive mood, an if-clause will always be in the
past perfect form. That means it will include words such as
were or had before the verb. An If-Clause
is a clause that begins with the word if, such as if this
happens, then that happens. (Note: If-clauses
may signal the subject mood, but not all if-clauses
Ex. If Bob were
on Mars, he would see Martians.
the verb in the example sentence is were. The verb form lets us know that
Bob, in fact, was not on Mars.
following examples would not be considered subjunctive mood:
Ex. Since Bob was
late, his appointment expired.
Ex. If Bob was invited to the
Harry Potter-themed party, he will have had a marvelous
was signals the reader that these examples are not
in the subjunctive mood. In the first example,
this verb indicates that the event
really has already actually occurred: the mood is indicative.
The subjunctive mood doesn't apply in the second sentence
because it suggests a possibility. The
possibility discussed (Bob's attendance at the party) is
not contrary to the fact, belief, expectation of the
writer, rather the second example is a statement about
the belief or expectation of the writer.
subjunctive mood also often denotes a wish.
Ex. I wish he
were here, then we could have some fun.
example sentence denotes the subjunctive mood because it uses the
verb form were and uses I wish at the
beginning, both of which show that the action has not
and were, has and had, when used as
helping verbs, can also be used
to express or not express the subjunctive mood. The
following example, which uses had, denotes the subjunctive mood:
Ex. Had I known
the truth, the Martians might not have taken Bob.
had I known the truth can also go at the end of the
sentence or in the middle of the sentence, as well:
Ex. The Martians
might not have taken Bob, had I known the truth.
Ex. The Martians, had I known the truth, might not have
like was, has does not denote the subjunctive
mood, as shown in the following:
Ex. Bob has been