Page 158


If, on the other hand, the outcome of the event has been decided, we use might. For example: If you had closed the gate the cows might not have got out.

2. The verb ‘to be’ features in the majority of subjunctive forms. In the present tense we use ‘be’ for all persons. For example: He suggested I be on the committee. Be he live or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread ….

In the future we use ‘were’. For example: If I were you, I would laugh. If all the seas were one sea …..

But in the past we use ‘had’. For example: Had I been there I would have laughed.

3. Sometimes the auxiliary is omitted (understood) especially in wishes. For example: So be it. God save the Queen.

And in the negative: Lest we forget.

Many a blessing or kind wish has been expressed in the subjunctive. For example: May the wind be always at your back. (Irish blessing) Well may your lums [chimneys] reek [smoke]. (A Scottish Gaelic blessing for new brides – not Gaelic spelling)


Grammar for Everyone  

Grammar for Everyone

Grammar for Everyone  

Grammar for Everyone