The subjunctive is a grammar form that has no plural form or past form. It is generally used when something is considered important or desirable. It is part of a highly formal style of English often referred to as ‘The Queen’s English’.
- It is essential that every child have educational opportunities.
- It has been suggested that the company invest in new machinery.
- The judge recommended that the prisoner stay in prison for at least 10 years.
Note that ‘do’ is not used in the negative form:
- It is essential that every child not have to pay for educational opportunities.
- It has been suggested that the company not invest in new machinery until next year.
- The judge recommended that the prisoner not stay in prison any longer
The verb be is slightly different to other verbs in the subjunctive, because there is a different past tense form.
- It is important that both parties be available to sign the documents
- I wish it were the weekend!
There are also some fixed phrases that use the subjunctive form:
- God save the Queen (not saves)
- Long live the King! (not lives)
- God bless us all (not blesses)
- Be that as it may…