Insist (that) something should be done

Fowler reads You can insist that something be done (subjunctive with that optionally omitted) or that something should be done. Isn’t that also optional in the version with should then? Answer Are these the options? It’s clearer if you write out the choice instead of bundling them together. You can insist (that) something be done… … Read more

Which type of condition is it? What is the mood?

If any person be found guilty, he shall have the right of appeal. Is it a type-2 conditional clause? Is it subjunctive mood, conditional mood, or imperative mood? Answer I think of this as a variation on the first conditional (if + present + then future). The "if" clause contains a verb in the subjunctive … Read more

Hypothesis Was or Were?

If I search in the internet, I find "hypothesis" is a singular word as I see "is" after it. But I found the following line in the book "Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data" by Charles Wheelan (in CHAPTER 9) – if the null hypothesis were true and this were really a bus … Read more

‘would’ vs. ‘would’ve’

No matter how many times I’ve studied this point of grammar, I am still struggling with using it properly. I was taught that I should use the unrealistic subjunctive (like ‘would’ve written’) for something that is only a failed possibility in the past, that is, it never happened, but is merely a product of your … Read more

“But the idea that someone might be arming the Seam would never have been allowed” — why “would have”?

From The Hunger Games: My bow is a rarity, crafted by my father along with a few others that I keep well hidden in the woods, carefully wrapped in waterproof covers. My father could have made good money selling them, but if the officials found out he would have been publicly executed for inciting a … Read more

Is there a word that describes this feeling?

The rising star shows no remorse for the figment of existence to which man shows no resolve. There is no depression, for there is no sadness. There is no boredom, for there is no annoyance. The world does not know, nor would the world give it consideration if it did know. If mankind could hear … Read more

“Small Latin and Less Greek”

About a third of the way through his poem “To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare and What He Hath Left Us,” Ben Jonson writes: And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek, From thence, to honour thee, I would not seek For names; but call forth thund’ring Aeschylus, Euripides, … Read more

Could ‘it’ be regarded as plural? Why is ‘were’ used instead of ‘is’ in “…if it were cleaned and fed…”?

I am reading ‘Justice’ from M.J. Sandel and he quoted the story from another author to criticize utilitarian as follows: If the child were brought up into the sunlight out of the vile place, if it were cleaned and fed and comforted, that would be a good thing indeed, but if it were done, in … Read more

Role of ‘would’

I know that ‘would’ has different usages, for requests, conditionals, habitual actions in the past, talking about the future in the past, willingness in the past, being less direct, etc. Which role of ‘would’ is used in the sentence below for the two bold ‘would’? I can imagine many instances where XXX would work and … Read more