All English SMA N 1 SLAWI

Subjunctives

Subjunctives

Source: English for The SLTA-Structure Reference Book II & III, Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan.

When we talked about conditional sentences, we found some uses of the subjunctive. Here are some examples taken from its frames:

(1) She might not come if she were ill.

(2) She might have come if she hadn’t been ill.

(3) Were he a doctor, he could help you.

(4) Had they come yesterday, I would’ve seen them.

Remember that the subjunctive is used in contrary-to-fact condition. Now we will look at the uses of the subjunctive in clauses after wish, would rather, as if, as though, if only.

A. The subjunctive referring to a present situation

Frame la: wish/would rather + the ‘past tense’ form

SUBJECT + WISH

CLAUSE

(THAT) SUBJECT

VERB

ETC.

1

I wish

(that) I

remembered

her address.

2

He wishes

(that) he

were

rich.

3

We wish

(that) it

would rain

4

She would rather

(that) you

did

it now.

5

They would rather

(that) she

came

tomorrow.

Frame Ib: as if etc. + the ‘past tense’ form

SUBJECT + VERB

AS IF, ETC,

CLAUSE

SUBJECT

VERB

ETC.

1

He walks

as if

he

were

drunk.

2

They keep singing

as though

nothing

happened.

3

If only

it

were

cheap.

Usage

1. The situation as expressed in the clause after wish, as if, as though, etc. is unreal or contrary – to – fact.

2. We use the past tense form of a verb in the clauses to express a situation or event which is contrary to the fact of the present. (After would rather it may also refer to a future situation). Look at the sentences in the frames above. For example, Frame la, sentence 1 means: ‘I don’t remember her address, (but I wish I remembered it).

Frame la, sentence 5 means: ‘They have come now, (but I would rather they came tomorrow).

Frame Ib, sentence 1 means: ‘He isn’t drunk, (but he walks as if he were drunk).

3. Note that were is used for all persons (see Frame la, sentence 2 and Frame Ib, sentences 1, 3).

B. The subjunctive referring to a past situation

Frame 2a: wish/would rather + the ‘past perfect tense’ form

CLAUSE

SUBJECT + WISH

(THAT) SUBJECT

VERB

ETC.

1

We wish

(that) we

had invited

him.

2

I wished

(that) the doctor

had been

in his office yesterday.

3

I would rather

(that) you

had not gone

there.

Frame 2b: as if, etc. + the ‘past perfect tense’form

SUBJECT + VERB

AS IF, ETC.

CLAUSE

SUBJECT

VERB

ETC.

1

She cried loudly

as if

she

had been hit

by her mother.

2

They sat quietly

as though

nothing

had happened.

3

If only

I

had arrived

earlier.

Usage

1. We use the ‘past perfect tense’ form in clauses after wish, as if, etc. to express a situation or event which is contrary to the fact of the past Look at the sentences above. For example. Frame 2a, sentence 1 means:

2. We didn’t invite him, (but we wish now that we had invited him)! Frame 2b, sentence 1 means: ‘She was not hit (nobody touched her), (but she cried as if she had been hit).

5 Responses

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  1. Ani said, on 15 November 2011 at 5:45 pm

    keren🙂 semoga pelajaran ini bermanfaat bagi sluruh murid Indonesia, amin..

    • sunartonurnaeni said, on 7 December 2011 at 3:43 pm

      Amin, makasih telah berkunjung.

    • sunartonurnaeni said, on 15 December 2011 at 4:00 pm

      amin

  2. anonymus said, on 8 January 2014 at 7:43 pm

    wah, cukup membantu nih. thanks ya.

    • sunartonurnaeni said, on 3 November 2014 at 9:09 pm

      terimakasih kembali, telah berkunjung.


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