The changing verb phrase in present-day British English

FTFs and matching corpus examples for the subjunctive

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The Subjunctive

Subjunctive clauses in DCPSE are marked with the feature 'subjun.' Examples can be retrieved from the corpus using the FTF in figure 1. Matching examples are shown in figures 2-4 and further examples are listed below.

Figure 1: FTF for clauses marked 'subjunctive' in DCPSE.

Figure 2: Subjunctive clause as it were.

Figure 3: Subjunctive clause if I were you...

Figure 4: Subjunctive clause If ladies were admitted...


<DCPSE:DI-B35 #0106:1:A> So that you you stuff you can play in and y you can actually <,> you can teach him if need be

<DCPSE:DI-B55 #0271:2:B> Uhm so I think he may not have the confidence to go ahead as it were

<DCPSE:DI-B59 #0375:7:A>I wouldn't be surprised if he were found hanging on the end of that phone very shortly so I 'd dial quickly if I was you <,>

<DCPSE:DI-D01 #0016:1:C> If ladies were admitted then hot toilets bathrooms showers and certain other rooms would have to be <,> reorganised to meet feminine requirements

<DCPSE:DI-D09 #0167:1:D> And the truth is that if Neil Kinnock uh were to become Prime Minister he 'd be the first Prime Minister in British history who if they 'd been to a university has been to any university other than Oxford or Cambridge

<DCPSE:DI-D16 #0027:1:C> If they decide that it 's necessary then so be it

<DCPSE:DI-J03 #0118:1:K> and there is very clear indications that the consequence of that is that there is very little tax manoeuvre uh for the Chancellor come the budget

<DCPSE:DL-A08 #0357:1:A> I mean that <,> that 's just maybe a lIttle bit of a fine issue but it just seems to me sometimes that you do very much need one needs to kind of further the contact that parents have with members of staff whether it be teachers nurses or whatever <,>

<DCPSE:DL-B06 #0262:1:B> don't suppose he 'd mind if it were <,,>

<DCPSE:DL-B19 #0296:1:C> I mean even <,,> if it were a couple lIving together it would be <,> just ideal

The Mandative Subjunctive

Mandative clauses which contain a verb in the subjunctive form are not annotated in DCPSE. These were retrieved using text searches for trigger words such as suggest, demand, require etc. Some examples are given below.


<DCPSE:DL-A02 #0259:2:A> Peter came and begged <,> that he be allowed to accept a job at the bottom of the scale <,,> uh and I said well uh a I wouldn't ask for that because I think it's immoral <,,> uh and I don't think it 's fair to you or to anybody else <,,> uhm <,,>

<DCPSE:DL-I01/LLC:S-11-02 #0154:1:A> and <,> he wrote one sentence which said <,,> Elizabeth the First 's parliaments <,> demanded that she abolish <,> tonnage and poundage <,,> but the noble creature stood firm

<DCPSE:DL-J05/LLC:S-12-05 #0070:1:A> it is essential to the consistency <,> as well as the unity of this party <,> that it be reaffirmed todAy <,,>

A PowerPoint presentation on the subjunctive can be downloaded here or from the main project page, The changing verb phrase in present-day British English.

This page last modified 28 November, 2018 by Jill Bowie.