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Oblique moods in nominal clauses.

Oblique mood forms (Subjunctive II, Conditional and Suppositional) distinguish the categories of aspect, correlation and voice, but they have no tense category. Otherwise stated, they cannot refer the action directly to the present, past or future. They can only indicate if the action of the verb in the Oblique Mood coincides in time with the action of the indicative mood form in the principal clause, or precedes it. This relative expression of time reference is based on the category of correlation, that is, a non-perfect form of Subjunctive II, the Conditional or the Suppositional Mood (used in the subordinate clause) denotes an action simultaneous with the action expressed by the indicative mood form in the principal clause: / wish I were home, (were denotes a present action as it is

simultaneous with the present action wish)

I was wishing I were still there, (were denotes a past action

since it is simultaneous with the past action was wishing)

Perfect forms of Subjunctive II, the Conditional and the Suppositional Mood indicate priority to the action expressed by the indicative mood form in the principal clause. Consequently, perfect forms always express past actions: / wish I hadn't got into this mess.

If there is no indicative mood form in the sentence, then a non-perfect oblique mood form directly refers the action to the present or future:

I wouldn't do a thing like that without telling you. If wishes were horses beggars would ride.

Perfect oblique mood forms refer the actions to the past: Ten years ago, Maurice wouldn't have spoken like this. If we'd been caught last night what would have happened to us?


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

It's time I made up my mind.

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

2. In predicative clauses introduced 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 she were trying to tell him something.

(simultaneous action) / feel as though I had never been away, (prior action)

3. In object clauses after the verb to wish and the modal phrase would rather:

I wish we were both about ten years older than we are.

(simultaneous action) / wish I hadn't come, (prior action)

I'd rather you cried here with us than all by yourself in there.

Sentences with wish-clauses express regret. When rendering them into Russian it is possible to use a clause with the opposite meaning, introduced by , by the finite form of the verb .

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. I wish you'd give her a message for me.

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. The whole sentence expresses a kind of request. Would +Infinitive shows that the fulfillment of the wish depends on the will of the person denoted by the subject of the subordinate clause:

Iwish you would treat me better.

If the fulfillment 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.

4. In indirect questions introduced by if or whether after the expression of doubt:

Wondering if he were sick, I went over to find out. I doubted if it were possible.


The Conditional Mood is used to denote unreal actions in simple sentences:

a) with an adverbial modifier of condition expressed by a

but for-phrase

He would not have come, but for me.

b) with implied condition

I wouldn't waste my time on rubbish in your place. (condition is implied in the phrase in your place

c) to sound polite, less straightforward. Here the Conditional

Mood differs from the Indicative only stylistically, the perfect

Conditional expressing the highest degree of politeness.

I should very much object to you reading trashy novels.

(= I very much object ...)


In simple sentences only Subjunctive I is used in a few set expressions as a survival of old usage (the so-called formulaic expressions).

1. Most of them express a wish:

Long live the Army / patriotism / heroes, etc.! Glory be! Success attend you!

Be yours a happy meeting! Far be it from me to spoil the fun / to argue with you / to

conceal the truth. God bless you! God save the Queen! Heaven forbid!The Devil take him! etc.

Subjunctive I in such expressions can be replaced by may + infinitive:

May success attend you! May your meeting be happy! May the Army live .long!

2. Some formulaic expressions have a concessive meaning:

Happen (come) what may (will) / Cost what it may.

So be it/ Be it so / Be that as it may. Be it rain or snow / Come rain or shine. Subjunctive I in these expressions may be replaced by let + infinitive: Let it be so.

3. The only productive pattern of a simple sentence with

Subjunctive I is the sentence expressing a command or a request

with an indefinite pronoun as the subject:

Everybody leave the room! Somebody switch off the light!

Subjunctive I may be replaced in such sentences by let +infinitive: Let everybody leave the room.

4. The Suppositional Mood is used only in one type of interrogative sentences beginning with 'And what if ... ?'

And what if he should come back?



Date: 2015-12-11; view: 2355

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