The subjunctive present tense

English grammar (See all our English grammar tips)

Want to improve your English? Test our online English lessons for free!

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.

Still having difficulties with 'The subjunctive present tense'? Want to improve your English? Test our online English lessons and receive a free level assessment!

Do you have smart way of remembering this rule? A tip to avoid making a mistake on 'The subjunctive present tense'? Share it with us!