Posted by: Jack Henry | November 14, 2016

Editor’s Corner: The Subjunctive Mood

I was talking with a friend recently about my plans to go to England for the new year, and he said, “I wish I was going with you.”

I make it a habit not to correct people’s speech, because we all make mistakes when we are speaking informally. We don’t have time to prepare, and sometimes things just come out wrong. I know—it happens to me a lot.

So, I didn’t correct my friend, but I made a mental note to bring it up here in the Editor’s Corner. My friend, let’s call him Herman Fizzleton, should have used the subjunctive mood. He should have said, “I wish I were going with you.”

According to the Grammarist website, “In English, the subjunctive moodis used to explore conditional or imaginary situations.”

If you are wishing for something, dreaming about something, or imagining something (any kind of hypothetical), you should use the subjunctive. Here are a few examples:

· If I were your boss, I’d give you a raise.

· If you were to hand-knit my holiday present, I would absolutely love it!

· I wish you were here to keep me company.

Understand, though, that getting the subjunctive mood correct does not necessarily mean that your wish comes true. We’re talking about a verb mood, not a genie in a bottle

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

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