English Subjunctive: What Is It?

Standard

Remember the rap song “I Wish” from the 90s? Skee-Lo says, “I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller.” Saying “I wish I was” is correct, right? It’s not. To express his wishes, Skee-Lo should’ve used the subjunctive mood: “I wish I were a little bit taller, I wish I were a baller.” (Nevertheless, that song earned Skee-Lo a Grammy nomination.)

So what is the English subjunctive? The English subjunctive is a type of verb mood. It indicates a hypothetical state or an opinion, belief, desire, or intention. It’s rarer than moods such as the imperative (Do that!) and the indicative (I did that). A few examples of the subjunctive can be found by clicking here!

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