Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of, relating to, or being a mood of a verb used in some languages for contingent or hypothetical action, action viewed subjectively, or grammatically subordinate statements.
  • n. The subjunctive mood.
  • n. A subjunctive construction. See Usage Note at if.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. inflected to indicate that an act or state of being is possible, contingent or hypothetical, and not a fact. English examples include so be it; I wouldn’t if I were you; were I a younger man, I would fight back; I asked that he leave.
  • n. The subjunctive mood.
  • n. A form in the subjunctive mood.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Subjoined or added to something before said or written.
  • n. The subjunctive mood; also, a verb in the subjunctive mood.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Subjoined or added to something before said or written.
  • In grammar, noting that mode of the verb by which is expressed condition, hypothesis, or contingency, and which is generally used in a clause subjoined or subordinate to another clause or verb, and preceded by one of certain conjunctions, especially (in English) if or though: as in the sentence “if that be the case, then I am wrong.”
  • n. In grammar, the subjunctive mode.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a mood that represents an act or state (not as a fact but) as contingent or possible
  • adj. relating to a mood of verbs

Etymologies

Late Latin subiūnctīvus, from Latin subiūnctus, past participle of subiungere, to subjoin, subordinate (translation of Greek hupotaktikos, subordinate, subjunctive); see subjoin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin subjunctivus ("serving to join, connecting, in grammar applies to the subjunctive mode"), from subjungere ("to add, join, subjoin"), from sub ("under") + jungere ("to join, yoke"); see join. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Can you explain to me what the term subjunctive means?

    Archive 2007-10-01

  • Be that as it may (a subjunctive phrase) most English subjunctive is in the form of word construction.

    If you could change Spanish...

  • When I wrote that I'd like to get rid of the subjunctive in Spanish, it was said mostly tongue in cheek because, as a former Spanish teacher, I was always telling my students how important the subjunctive is in Spanish and, yes, it's used a lot, and, yes, it's used in everyday conversation, not just in writing and formal speech.

    If you could change Spanish...

  • One site saysQuote the future subjunctive is becoming obsolete.

    Tal vez regresemos. - Subjunctive?

  • Such a use of the subjunctive is called the subjunctive of purpose.

    Latin for Beginners

  • I don't think that's the strict domain of "were" in so-called subjunctive constructions in English.

    Ask MetaFilter

  • Anon -- If I were you, I'd look up "subjunctive" in those basic rules of grammar.

    Original Signal - Transmitting Buzz

  • This is a so-called subjunctive by attraction, which means that the clause beginning with «ubi» stands in such close connection with the subjv. clause beginning with «ut», that its verb is attracted into the same mood.] [Footnote 5: All these verbs are in the same construction.] [Footnote 6: «Hoc cōnsilium», subj. of «placēret».

    Latin for Beginners

  • "subjunctive" or "counterfactual" conditionals like "Tom would have cooked the dinner if Mary had not done so", "We would have been home by ten if the train had been on time".

    Conditionals

  • -- who knows how that might turn out -- _if_ -- I don't like that kind of subjunctive mood tenure of a friend.

    Tales and Novels — Volume 09

Comments

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    June 13, 2008