Subjunctive Forms

Subjunctive Forms :

The subjunctive mood is used in certain special constructions of wish, condition and the like.

In older English, the subjunctive forms were common in a variety of uses, as they still are in poetry and the solemn style. In ordinary prose, however, subjunctive forms are rare, and in conversation they are hardly ever heard, except in the case of the copula be.

The subjunctive forms of BE are the following.

Subjunctive Mood

Present Tense


1. If I be. ……..1. If we be.
2. If thou be. ……..2. If you be.
3. If he be. ……..3. If they be.

Past Tense


1. If I were. ……..1. If we were.
2. If thou wert. ……..2. If you were.
3. If he were. ……..3. If they were.

Perfect (or Present Perfect) Tense


1. If I have been. ……..1. If we have been.
2. If thou have been. ……..2. If you have been.
3. If he have been. ……..3. If they have been.

Pluperfect (or Past Perfect) Tense


1. If I had been. ……..1. If we had been.
2. If thou hadst been. ……..2. If you had been.
3. If he had been. ……..3. If they had been.

If is used in the paradigm because it is in clauses beginning with if that the subjunctive is commonest in modern English; but if is of course no part of the subjunctive inflection.

In other verbs, the subjunctive active has the same forms as the indicative, except in the second and third person singular of the present and the perfect which are like the first person.


1. If I strike. ……..1. If I have struck.
2. If thou strike. ……..2. If thou have struck.
3. If he strike. ……..3. If he have struck.

In the subjunctive passive, the subjunctive forms of the copula are used as auxiliaries…..

Present : If I be struck.

Past : If I were struck.

Perfect : If I have been struck.

Pluperfect : If I had been struck.

Progressive verb-phrases in the subjunctive may be formed by means of the copula.

Present : If I be striking.

Past : If I were striking.

The present is rare. The past is common.

Subjunctive Forms :

Grammar Index

Subjunctive Forms To HOME PAGE

An advanced grammar must aim to be serviceable in two ways. It should afford the means for continuous and systematic study of the subject or of any part of it and it should also be useful for reference in connection with the study of composition and of literature. With this latter end in view, many notes and observations have been included, in smaller type, to show the nature and development of the various forms and constructions and to point out differences between the usage of to-day and that which the student observes in Shakespeare and other English classics. The fullness of the index makes it easy to find anything that the volume contains.

Related Links : Subjunctive Forms