Learn about the subjunctive mood and how it is used for hypothetical situations and the clues that a sentence is written in the subjunctive.

 

The Subjunctive Form

 

Warm-Up Question

 

pirate-on-beach

If the pirates were to find any more chests,

they would be going home even richer.

 

Copy the three words that tell you the sentence is written in the subjunctive.

 

 the answer

ANSWER

 

pirate-on-beach

If the pirates were to find any more chests,

they would be going home even richer.

 

Copy the three words that tell you the sentence is written in the subjunctive.

 

a. if

b. were

c. would

 

 

Learn About The Subjunctive Mood

 

sentences written in the subjunctive mood are about things that are not actually happening

 and are not likely to happen

 

dog-bite

If the dog were better behaved, he could easily win the best behaved prize in a dog competition.

 

☑️ this is not actually happening and it is not likely to happen

 

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the subjective mood is used for hypothetical situations

the word hypothetical means imagined or not real

 

sea-life-centre

 

If Hallie were to swim inside the aquarium, she would swim with the turtle.

 

☑️ this is not actually happening and it is not likely to happen

 

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the subjunctive mood always uses the verb were

 

spaceship

 

If I were to become an astronaut, I would fly around the entire universe.

 ☑️ the subjunctive mood often uses if + were

 

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the subjunctive mood always uses were

were is often used with if + would, could or might

 

snowman

 

If it were to snow tomorrow, I could make a huge snowman.

 

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the subjunctive mood often uses if + were

+ would, could or might

 

office

If Ewan were the headteacher of his school, he would ban all homework.

 

☑️ if + were always describe something hypothetical

 

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subjunctive mood REVISION question

 learn-club-question

 

 

In the SATs you need to spot the subjunctive mood when you see it

 

broken-bike

 

If there were a magic spell to fix his bike, Max would use it.

 

the words if + were + would are clues that

this sentence is written in the subjunctive mood

 

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clues that a sentence is written in the subjective mood include

 

the use of were plus the words if + would

 

goalkeeper

 

If Lewis were to play for Liverpool he would be on television.

 

clue | clue | clue

 

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subjunctive mood REVISION question

 learn-club-question

 

 

clues that a sentence is written in the subjective mood include

the use of were plus the words if + could

 

boys-bedroom

 

If Max were inside the game he could rule space world.

 

clue | clue | clue

 

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clues that a sentence is written in the subjective mood include

the use of were plus the words if + might

 

cinema

 

If they were to fall asleep during the film they might miss the end.

 

clue | clue | clue

 

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most verbs tell us about real events

campsite

this is actually happening

The campers were asleep in their tent.

☑️ real - uses were but not if

the subjunctive tells us about hypothetical events

campsite

this is not actually happening

If the river were to overflow tonight it would flood the tent.

☑️ not real - uses were + if

 

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subjunctive mood REVISION question

 learn-club-question

 

 

if without were is used for factual situations

 

digging

 

If the pirate finds the treasure, he will go home rich.

 

this is not the subjunctive because it might happen - there is a chance that the pirate will find the treasure and then he will go home rich

 

☑️ if and were = the subjunctive

☑️ if without were = not the subjunctive

 

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the subjunctive mood is also used for

unreal wishes

 

superhero

 

Lewis wishes that he were Superman.

 

the subjunctive uses wish + were for wishes that do not have any chance of coming true

 

 

 

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wishes in the subjunctive uses wish + were it might also use if

 

 

If Patch were to have one wish, it would be for his parrot to talk.

 

pirate

if + were + wish + would = subjunctive

 

Patch wishes that his parrot were able to talk.

 

pirate

wishes + were = subjunctive

 

 

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subjunctive mood REVISION question

 learn-club-question

 

 

 

was is used for real situations so was is never used in the subjunctive

 

 

He was on a world tour.

 

penguin-band

this is talking about something real so it uses was

was is always used for real situations

 

If he was a better singer he could be famous.

 

penguin-band

this is talking about something something hypothetical

were should been used instead of was

 

 

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the subjunctive mood describes something hypothetical

 

student

 

In the middle of the SATs test, Alfie wishes that the test were over.

☑️ the SATs test is not over

 

If the SATs test were not today, Alfie could revise more.

☑️ the SATs test is today

 

If Alfie were the teacher, he would cancel the SATs test.

☑️ Alfie is not the teacher

 

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learn club remember

 

the subjunctive always uses were

were is used with if + would, could, might or wish

 

man-holding-spider

there are clues that a sentence is written in the subjunctive

 

If he were to have one wish it would be for smaller spiders.

 

main clue | main clue | clue | clue

 

 

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were without if

is not the subjunctive mood

two-dogs

They were the best dancers in the dancing competition.

if without would, could, or might

is not the subjunctive mood

two-dogs

If they win the competition they will get a prize.

 

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was is used for

real situations

beach

I was thinking of going to an island for my holiday.

were is used for

hypothetical situations

beach

If I were a millionaire, I would buy my own island.

 

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the subjunctive has two key tenses

 

past tense

 

this tense is used for hypothetical situations

we have looked at this tense

 

present tense

 

this tense is used for requests, demands, or suggestions

we will now look at this tense

 

 

the present tense subjunctive is used with that clauses

to make suggestions, demands and requests

 

mars-aliens

 

The astronaut suggested that he take a selfie of them all.

☑️ this is not a situation that is actually happening

 

the astronaut has only made a suggestion about taking a selfie - he has not actually taken one

 

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the present tense subjunctive is used with a that clause to

make suggestions, demands and requests

 

astronaut-with-alien

 

The alien recommended that he show Bud the way.

 

The alien urged that Bud wear his helmet.

 

The alien requested that Bud hold on tight.

 

Bud suggested that they walk more slowly.

 

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the ‘that' can be left out of a that clause and it will still make sense

 

robot-boss

 

Ben's boss suggested that Ben submit a report.

 

Ben's boss suggested Ben submit a report.

 

the subjunctive never describes actual events - Ben is not actually submitting a report - it is just being suggested to him

 

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learn club remember

 

the present tense subjunctive always uses that clauses

 

dog-biting

 

there are clues that a sentence is written in the present subjunctive

 

Jack demanded that the dog let go of his leg.

 

words such as demanded, suggested or requested are clues

 

☑️ these words without that are clues

 

the word that following words like demanded is also a clue

 

 

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Now take the The Subjunctive Mood Quiz to find out what you have learned...

 

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