Verbs that express opinions, moods
Use of Subjunctive
Versage English Tutoring Services
Newsletter – April 2015 ©
Many students are confused by this English grammar topic, so I wrote this document to help them.
In English grammar the subjunctive mood is a verb mood. That means it is used to express something that has not taken place. It can be used to express an action, emotion, opinion, judgment, possibility or necessity.
It uses the simple form of the verb, also referred to as the “base verb” in some grammar books. In subjunctive mood, there is no present, past or future verb form.
Example: to buy = BUY, to invest = INVEST
Infinitive base infinitive base
This form is used with verbs such as: advise, ask, demand, insist, propose, recommend, suggest, request.
We demanded that ABC Corp. meet with our lawyers.
We insisted (that) he attend the event at our embassy. (that) indicates optional use in the sentence.
.. meet and attend are base verbs
To express negative meaning, NOT is used.
Example: I recommended that he not attend the conference in Davos.
Don’t say : I recommended that he doesn’t attend the conference in Davos.
My wife and I insisted that John and his wife visit us in July at our vacation home.
Our Director of European Sales recommended that Tanya stay for one additional week in Moscow.
In my experience, Eastern European students typically make these mistakes in Business English.
Here are some practical examples:
He proposed me to become his partner in the business.
He suggests me to stay at the Plaza.
He suggested me to visit his factory in Romania.
She recommended them to see a Broadway show.
She insisted him not to pay for lunch.
They proposed me to invest in the apartment on West 57th Street.
He proposed (that) I become his partner in the business.
He suggests (that) I stay at the Plaza.
He suggested (that) I visit his factory in Romania.
She recommended (that) they see a Broadway show.
She insisted (that) he not pay for lunch.
They proposed (that) I invest in the apartment on West 57th Street.
(that) is appropriate in business writing.
It is also used with expressions:
It’s critical that … It’s essential that … It’s imperative that …. (imperative = must be done)
It’s important that.. It’s necessary that.. It’s vital that … (vital = extremely important or critical)
It’s critical that we reduce headcount by 5% to reduce salary and wage expense.
It’s important that he rehearse for the upcoming presentation to Sberbank.
It’s imperative that we improve our annual revenue (turnover) by 15% in 2015.
It’s vital that she visit our key customers on her next business trip to London.
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