Form of base subjunctive
The form of the base subjunctive is extremely simple. For all verbs and all persons, the form is the base of the verb, for example: be, have, do, go, sing, work
The base subjunctive does not use any other forms (
goes, sings, works).
This table shows the base subjunctive in all persons, using the verbs be, work and sing as examples:
|he, she, it||be||work||sing|
Use of base subjunctive
In certain that clauses
The base subjunctive is typically used in that clauses after two structures:
1. suggest-verb (or noun) + that
- advise, ask, command, demand, desire, insist, order, prefer, propose, recommend, request, suggest
- command, demand, order, proposal, recommendation, request, suggestion
2. advisable/anxious-adjective + that
- advisable, best, crucial, desirable, essential, imperative, important, necessary, unthinkable, urgent, vital
- adamant, anxious, determined, eager, keen
Look at these sentences which include examples of the above:
|He||suggests||that||you||be||present at the meeting.|
|The board||recommend||that||he||join||the company.|
|He||requested||that||the car park||not||be||locked at night.|
|They made a||suggestion||that||we||be||early.|
|He made a||proposal||that||the company||buy||more land.|
|The president has issued an||order||that||the secretary||resign||next month.|
|It is||advisable||that||she||rest||for a week.|
|It was||essential||that||the army||advance||rapidly.|
|After the landing, it will be||vital||that||every soldier||not||use||a radio.|
- the position of not when creating negation
- that the main clause can be in any tense
Look at some more examples, which include that clauses in negative and continuous form:
- The judges order that he stay the execution.
- We have made a request that we not be disturbed.
- It is important that a car be waiting when we arrive.
- The manager was eager that his visitor see the new building.
- The board of directors recommended that he not be dismissed.
- Have you seen my suggestion that work hours be reduced?
- It was essential that we should vote the following day.
- He requested that the car park should not be locked at night.
be after if
We sometimes use subjunctive be after if/whether, though this is rather formal, especially in British English:
|If that||be||(not)||the case,||I intend to report the matter.|
|Whether he||be||prepared or not,|
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved. William Shakespeare
Note the following fixed expressions with the subjunctive:
- Bless you!
- God bless America!
- God save the Queen.
- Long live the President!
- Heaven forbid!
- Heaven help us!