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The Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive is a special verb mood that expresses something imagined or a command.

Use the subjunctive to refer to hypotheticals, such as events that aren’t true, aren’t certain, or are wished for.

Hypothetical subjunctive statements are often introduced by if or as if or even if. Use a plural past-tense verb (were) even when the subject is singular.

Example: If I were rich, I’d buy a beach house. 

A command subjunctive emphasizes urgency or importance. Use it after expressions of will or desire (such as to advise [that], to ask [that], to demand [that], to insist [that]). To form the command subjunctive, use the base verb form: the form of the verb you’d use after to.

Examples: She suggested that he study more. Charlie insisted that Kathy not join the committee.