The subjunctive present tense

English grammar (See all)

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The Subjunctive Present Tense

The present subjunctive is used in constructions such as:
They suggested that he come with them.

In English, the present subjunctive functions independently of time and is always conjugated in the infinitive without to:
Bruno asked that everyone be on time.
I prefer that he go alone.
She had suggested that they be polite.
It was essential (that) he listen to me.

The present subjunctive is also used in constructions like:
God save the Queen. Please God, keep the Queen safe.
May the schwartz be with you. (Mel Brooks movie)
Far be it from me to criticize your work. I certainly would not criticize your work.
Be that as it may... I accept that is true, however...

Some verbs frequently followed by a verb in the present subjunctive (which often express an order, suggestion, advice, necessity, etc.): to require, to suggest, to be necessary, to advise, to insist
Note that the subjunctive is more commonly used in formal constructions.

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