Everything Language and Grammar

Subjunctive as a Way of Life!

Posted by languageandgrammar on December 30, 2012

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By Paul Yeager, author of Literally, the Best Language Book Ever and Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities

We’ve written about the subjunctive a couple of times (Subjunctive Uses Were, Not Was and I Wish I Was Wrong, But I’m Not), so this is a more philosophical post on the topic.

The subjunctive is used when we wish things were different from the way they actually are, and based on what I see in life, that seems to be how we live our lives–wishing things were different.

It’s December 30, meaning that New Year’s Day has not arrived yet, but the stores are brimming with candy and decorations for Valentine’s Day. A local grocery store even has candy out for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter!

I know that retailers need to plan ahead and get merchandise ready to sell, but we, as a society, seem obsessed with whatever is next, as if whatever is now is not good enough.

The reason Christmas is only a six-week obsession is that Thanksgiving slows down the train a little, but it’s depressing to me to start thinking about spring already. Winter just started. Sure, maybe people don’t like the weather as much as I do, but still, we don’t have to subjunctive our lives away!

(Image from http://heiditunnellcatering.com/st-patricks-day/)

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2 Responses to “Subjunctive as a Way of Life!”

  1. Tom S. Fox said

    Why should I take grammar advice seriously that comes from somebody who doesn’t know the difference between a tense and a mood?

    • languageandgrammar said

      It is a mood and not a tense, but I didn’t say either tense or mood in the article, just talked about the subjunctive.

      Oh, I do see that I mistakenly identified it as a tense in the headline; it’s been corrected.

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