December 27, 2009
To the Master Collection ToC The KISS Grammar Home Page

KISS Level  2.1.7 - The KISS Perspective on the Subjunctive Mood

Notes for Teachers

    Discussions of the subjunctive mood can become very complicated, but from the KISS perspective what teachers and students need to know is very simple--some verbs in the subjunctive mood look as if their subjects do not agree with their verbs in number:

If he were here, he would not do that.
In other cases, "be" is used as a finite verb:
Be he devil or angel, she won't like him.
Students are rarely, if ever, taught to use the subjunctive mood. Those who use it have learned it in the same way that they learned the language--from what they hear or what they read. It is included in KISS primarily so that students and teachers will recognize these unusual forms as correct finite verbs. Two exercises are included in each of the grade-level books. Some teachers may want to skip them; others may want to use additional exercises, either from this site or elsewhere.
      The  instructional material was adapted from Wm. H. Mazwell's Intermediate Grammar. He calls this the "subjunctive mode" and refers to dependent and independent clauses, but I have revised  his otherwise brief and relatively clear explanation to match KISS terms. You may want to replace this material with a simpler explanation:
     Verbs in the subjunctive mood express a condition that is not true. "If I were you, I would go fishing." means that I am not you, but if I were, I would go fishing.
For additional information on the subjunctive, see the "KISS Perspective on the Subjunctive Mood" in the Glossary.
Exercises in KISS Level 2.1.7
The Subjunctive Mood (Adapted from Maxwell)
Subjunctive Mood (Maxwell L 2 8 01) AK ToC G3
From Heidi by Johanna Spyri AK ToC G3
From Vredenburg's My Book of Favorite Fairy Tales AK ToC G4
From Lassie, Come Home, by Eric Knight AK ToC G6
Based on George Macdonald's At the Back of the North Wind AK ToC G6
Subjunctive Mood (Maxwell L 2 8 02) AK ToC G9
From The Master of Ballantrae, by R. L. Stevenson AK ToC G9