?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
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
 
 
 
The Mad Latinistjdm314 on 9. November, 2004 19:33 (UTC)
Ironic, I was just complaining about lest+indicative, due to an occurance in the subtitles of a film. It was a Polish children's film with subtitles in English... the English was generally grammatically correct, but off in a number of ways.

The situation was this: a child is telling his mother that his sled can move on its own, the mother, irritated, replies sarcastically "Then you'd better tie it up lest it runs away." Now obviously no native speaker would use lest there, unless they were evoking Shakespeare or something. But then the problem becomes that if you're going to use an archaic word, you should use the archaic grammar that goes with it, namely the subjunctive. Lest plus indicative sounds TERRIBLE to me.