How could I different the subjunctive mood from wrong tense or singular from in third personal?

Here is the example, which is right? It’s important he know this. It’s important he knows this. It’s important he has known this. or, those above all right, but express different meaning. Answer The third form of the sentence could be grammatically correct but expresses an unlikely thought, implying he no longer knows this, but … Read more

“Would not pass” or “would not have passed”?

Here is a situation: (Jack and Dorothy are in the car) Silence. They pass Blumergton. Dorothy looks out of the window, her face is obviously surprised. Silence again. They pass Himilgreens. Silence again. Jack: “I must tell you something” Dorothy: “What is it?” Jack: “We are not going to Darwinhill” Dorothy: “I know that” Jack: … Read more

Correct usage of “Could” and “Can”

Possible Duplicate: When do I use “can” & “could”? In a company, the HR asked me: “Could you please sign here“. I want to know whether it is correct or “Can ” should be used or simply “Please sign here” is sufficient. When to ideally use Could. Answer Strictly logically speaking, asking “Can you sign … Read more

Which is correct: “what if there was” or “what if there were”?

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? Is this correct grammar? What if there was a Stack Overflow on… Shouldn’t it be “what if there were a Stack Overflow on…”? Answer Prescriptively, you’re correct, this should be were since this is being expressed with the … Read more

Conditional sentences not starting with “if”

Were I rich, I would live on Long Island. If I were rich, I would live on Long Island. Is the first sentence still used, or is used in particular contexts (in example, to give emphasis to the sentence)? Answer It’s rarely used nowadays (in the US at least). It will usually come off as … Read more

Why have the subjunctive and indicative converged in Modern English?

It is to me a curious fact that the subjunctive mood of verbs in English has so nearly disappeared in modern times. In fact, even the correct form and usage of the subjunctive in Modern English barely distinguishes itself from the indicative! In many regions and dialects, the subjunctive would appear to be entirely obsolete, … Read more

When should I use the subjunctive mood?

In which cases should I use the subjunctive mood? I suggest that every applicant fill out the form carefully. If she were rich, she would live on Long Island. Answer What is called the “subjunctive” or the “present subjunctive” is in fact just a simple untensed variant of normally tensed that-complement clauses. Unlike real subjunctive … Read more

When to use “If I was” vs. “If I were”?

If I was… If I were… When is it correct to use “If I was” vs. “If I were” in standard English? Answer SYNOPSIS: Sometimes it must be “if I was”, but at other times it can be “if I were” — and for some speakers in those cases, perhaps even must be “if I … Read more

When do I use “can” or “could”?

When should I use can? When should I use could? What is right under what context? Answer Since your name seems Indian, I’ll also mention a common Indian-English idiosyncrasy that may clear up matters for you. There is a tendency in Indian speech to use “could” for “can”, and “would” for “will”. This is wrong … Read more