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Last week, our grammar guru, Daryl, talked about the oft-mysterious subjunctive mood in If Hairs Be Wires, Black Wires Grow on Her Head. Use of the subjunctive mood isn’t as common in English as it is in other languages. I, for one, hadn’t even heard of the subjunctive tense until my first French class in middle school. (I blame the ’90′s hit song, I Wish, what with its improper use of the subjunctive and all. “I wish I was a little bit taller”? Tsk, tsk.)
As Daryl mentioned in his post, the most common uses of the subjunctive mood in English are conditions, suppositions, wishes, demands, suggestions, and statements of necessity. At least once in our lives, we’ve all muttered, “I just wish I were…” or “If I were more like…”, knowingly or unknowingly invoking the subjunctive mood.