The Moods of Verbs -- American English - Page 2

3. The subjunctive mood is used to express a wish, doubt, uncertainty or a condition which is contrary to fact. By contrary to fact we mean something that is not true. A contrary to fact condition is usually introduced by the word if or as if. Sometimes careful writers and speakers also use the subjunctive in making a suggestion, in making a demand, or expressing a need.

If he were here, I would give him the keys. (He is not here)
I wish I were in San Francisco. (expresses a desire)
He talked as if I was not there. (I am there)
If this plan fails, we shall give up the project. (condition of uncertainty)
It is important that the play begin at once. (a necessity)
I don't know if we can succeed. (doubt)

The subjunctive and indicative moods do not present any problems in English. The verb has the same form to express a statement or to ask a question. You can identify the subjunctive mood easily because the subject is you, which is usually understood. The imperative mood always expresses a command or a request.

The subjunctive is used in certain parliamentary expressions, such as the following:

I move that the nominations be closed.
He moved that the report of the committee be accepted.

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