KISS Level 2.1.7 - The
KISS Perspective on the Subjunctive Mood
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.
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.