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Nominal Clauses

B. Complex Sentence

A. Simple Sentence

Subjunctive II


Form: Subjunctive II has two basic forms: non-perfect Subjunctive II is synthetical and is homonymous with the Past Indicative:spoke, went, built, wrote, did, etc. The only exception is the verb to be, whose Subjunctive II from is were for all persons: I/she/he/ it were (was is also possible with I/he/she/it and is more common in conversational English). Perfect Subjunctive II is homonymous with the Past Perfect Indicative for all verbs: had done, had gone, had written, etc.

Meaning: Subjunctive II represents an action as contrary to reality:

I always wish I were like you (as a matter of fact, I am not like you).

Use: Subjunctive II is used in simple sentences and in certain subordinate clauses of a complex sentence.


1. Subjunctive II is used in exclamatory sentences beginning with “Oh, that …”, “If only …”:

Oh, that the storm were over! (present)

If only Rowley had come! (past)

Such sentences express wish or regret.

2. Subjunctive II is found in simple sentences with modal verbs. In the sentences referring to the present or future the modal verb in Subjunctive II is followed by a non-perfect infinitive, in the sentences referring to the past – by a perfect one:

Could you come again tomorrow?

You might have opened the door for me.

3. Subjunctive II is also found in simple sentences containing the modal phraseological expressions had better, would rather, would sooner. Such sentences express preference of advice:

I would rather know the painful truth than imagine it (preference).

You’d better keep outof sight until it’s all over (advice).


Subjunctive II is used in nominal and adverbial clauses.


1. In predicative clauses introduces by the conjunctions as if, as though. The predicative clauses with Subjunctive II immediately follow the link verbs be, seem, look, feel, sound:

It was as if shewere trying to tell him something (simultaneous action).

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I feel as though I had never been away (prior action).

2. In object clauses after the verb “to wish”:

I wish we were both about ten years older than we are (simultaneous action).

I wish I hadn’t come (prior action).

Sentences with wish-clauses express regret. When rendering them into Russian it is possible to use a clause with the opposite meaning, introduced by жаль, как жаль, какая жалость or by the finite form of the verb “сожалеть”.

With reference to the future, after the verb to wish a combination of the modal verb would in Subjunctive II and the Infinitive is often used in the sense of insistence, habit or willingness:

I wish you wouldn’t sing in the bath.

I wish you would shut up!

Would + Infinitive is possible only when the subject of the subordinate clause and that of the principal clause do not denote the same thing or person. Would” + Infinitive shows that the fulfillment of the wish depends on the will of the person denoted by the subject of the subordinate clause:

I wish you would treat me better.

If the fulfilment of the wish depends more on the circumstances, may (might) or could + Infinitive is preferable:

I wish I could help you.

I only wish I might be with you.

3. In attributive clauses after the expressions It is time. It is high time. It is about time:

It is time I made up my mind.

In attributive clauses only non-perfect Subjunctive II is used.

Читайте також:

  1. Lecture 14. Evolution of the ME Nominal Morphology.


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