The subjunctive is a rare form. There are two sorts of subjunctive in English:

  • the present subjunctive,
  • the past subjunctive.

The form of the subjunctive


The subjunctive in the present is the same as the bare infinitive (infinitive without "to") for all verbs.

Subject pronouns The verb to be The verb to meet
I be meet
you be meet
he, she, it be meet
we be meet
you be meet
they be meet


The past subjunctive relates only to the verb to be. It takes the form were

Subject pronouns The verb to be
I were
you were
he, she, it were
we were
you were
they were

Use of subjunctive

1.We generally use the subjunctive when talking about events that are not certain to happen, especially when talking about events someone wants to happen, hopes will happen or imagines happening.

  • The minister hopes that you help him with the new law.
  • If I were you I would buy this house.

2.Typically, the subjunctive is used after these structures:

  • It is essential, vital, important, necessary, desirable,...+ that
  • The verbs ask, recommend, request, suggest, insist, propose, command + that
  • It is vital that you finish your studies.
  • I suggest that you visit Paris.

3.Some fixed expressions use the subjunctive. Here are some examples:

  • Long live the King!
  • God bless America!

In conditional sentences type II

The subjunctive form of the verb to be is used in conditional sentences type II, So after 'if' (and other words having the same meaning) the verb 'to be' takes the form of the past subjunctive.

  • If I were rich I would buy that beautiful car.
  • If she were attentive to his problems she would help him.
  • Suppose you were a millionaire, what would you do?