Re: Grammar gurus: I have a question

Subject: Re: Grammar gurus: I have a question
From: "Janet Swisher" <jmswisher -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2008 17:26:08 -0500

On Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 4:33 PM, Michael West <mbwest -at- bigpond -dot- com> wrote:
> There most certainly is a US/UK difference on this use of the subjunctive,
> as I mentioned in an earlier post in this thread.
> This has led some observers to speak of the "disappearing subjunctive" in
> Britain among educated speakers and writers.

The article on the subjunctive in the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of
English Usage (highly recommended) notes that the imminent demise of
the subjunctive has been lamented by usage writers since the late 18th
century, that "it has, in fact, been in decline since Old English",
and yet that it still has not disappeared.

> A growing tendency to use the indicative verb ("I suggest that he is
> fired") where traditional grammar prescribes the subjunctive ("I suggest
> that he be fired") is also mirrored in Australian usage. I'm not sure of the
> state of play in Canada.

> To those of us raised on traditional grammar rules, this new-fangled
> indicative substitution just sounds wrong. More precisely, it sounds like
> hypercorrection by timid speakers who have no idea what "subjunctive" refers
> to.

The example above just sounds like an error to me, though a common
one, especially in speech. An example of hypercorrection would be
where the subjunctive form is used when it is not needed (e.g., no
hypothetical or counterfactual condition exists): "He asked me if I
were tired."

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Re: Grammar gurus: I have a question: From: Michael West

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