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06 November 2004 @ 14:50
Gone, but not forgotten  

The English subjunctive is dead. I know this because I saw it on the front page of the Toronto Sun. (I didn't actually buy a copy or anything like that; I was just walking past a rank of newspaper boxes and happened to notice it.) Now, I am well aware that you can't believe everything you read in Der Sun, but this is a special case. Der Sun was not actually reporting on the death of the subjunctive; it was reporting on the refusal of a BQ MP to supply veterans in his riding with a Canadian flag. Nevertheless, the headline on the story clearly proclaimed the demise of the subjunctive mood, in characters of a size that soberer newspapers reserve for the outbreak of a major war:

I hereby propose that everyone mark marks the passage of this noble mood with two minutes of silence.

Nuværende humør: sympatheticsouvenant
puntomaupunto on 9. November, 2004 16:32 (UTC)
God save the Queen
English grammar is not exactly my field - as everybody can see... - but I thought that the form was that of a "wishing subjunctive", what in Italy we call "congiuntivo esortativo". True, it's a kind of imperative, but I cannot manage to see God as a vocative.
But are there examples of subjunctive that are not fossil? On top of my head I remember just fixed forms like "if I were you", "lest he forget", "let it be me", "heaven forfend".
ciao, .mau.
Q. Pheevrq_pheevr on 10. November, 2004 00:28 (UTC)
Re: God save the Queen

"God save the Queen" is definitely a congiuntivo esortativo for anyone who still has a subjunctive mood. But I think the only way for a native speaker of English who does not have a subjunctive to make sense of it is as an imperative with a vocative at the beginning.

Because the subjunctive is dead (or dying) in English, it's hard to come up with non-fossilized examples. I still have the subjunctive myself, and the unamended version of my statement "I hereby propose that everyone mark the passage of this noble mood" is an example of how I use it productively.