MUST HAVE 15 GMAT full-length tests with video explanations, rigorous analytics, 200+ conceptual videos, and a set of 12 sentence correction e-books. $50!

INQUIRE
INQUIRE

3 Key Subjunctive Structures on GMAT


This short video explains the 3 key subjunctive structures on GMAT. An important concept for subjunctive mood on the GMAT sentence correction.


3 Key Subjunctive Structures on GMAT

The 3 Key Subjunctive Mood Structures


A particularly tricky concept on the GMAT is subjunctive mood. The correct application of the subjunctive mood, particularly in terms of the verb forms to be employed is something that many students struggle with. In this short article, we will cover the three primary structures through which the subjunctive mood is expressed.

The 3 Key Subjunctive Structures


Let us now take a look at these three structures.

1. If + plural form of verb


The first structure is the “if + plural verb” format; it is used to express a wish or a hypothesis, something that is contrary to fact. Please take a look at the following example to better understand this point.

Example 1: If I were the Prime Minister, politics would be cleaner.

Here, one may think that the use of the plural verb “were” is incorrect, as the subject is the singular pronoun “I”, meaning the singular verb “was” must be used. However, the sentence is actually correct, as it is written, because the subjunctive mood is preferable when a wish or hypothesis is expressed, and “if + plural form of verb” is a correct, subjunctive mood structure. See, “If I were the Prime Minister” is a hypothetical, meaning “If” must be followed by a plural verb, even if the subject is singular.

2. Subject + bossy verb + that + base form of verb


The second structure is the “subject + bossy verb + that + base form of verb” structure; it is used to express a command, demand, suggestion, or necessity. Please take a look at the following example to better understand this point.

Example 2: The judge ordered that the cop take the accused away.

In this sentence, the subject is “The judge”, and the bossy verb (one that expresses a desire that something be done) is “ordered”; the verb is followed by a “that”, which is in turn followed by the base verb “take”. Please note that here “take” is the base form of the verb, as opposed to the plural form of the verb, which in this case is also “take”. If you find yourself confused in this regard, simply ask yourself, which form of the verb would be used in the infinitive verb form (“to + base form of verb”). Once again, although the subject is the singular noun “cop”, the use of the singular verb “takes” is not needed; due to the subjunctive nature of information, the base form must be used.

3. Subject + bossy verb + that + something be done


The third structure is the “subject + bossy verb + that + something be done” structure; it is also used to express a command, demand, suggestion, or necessity. Please take a look at the following example to better understand this point.

Example 2: The judge ordered that the accused be taken away by the cop.

In this sentence, the subject is “The judge”, and the bossy verb (one that expresses a desire that something be done) is “ordered”; the verb is followed by a “that”, which is in turn followed by the “something be done” structure, in this case, “the accused be taken away”. The third structure is distinct from the first two in that it does not involve an exception to subject-verb agreement, making it simpler to use. This structure has, primarily, been included in this article for the sake of completeness; it is the first two structures that we must focus on, as they can be confusing from a subject-verb agreement perspective.

This was the concept guys! This article has deliberately been kept brief; for a more elaborate explanation, please refer to the Experts’ Global Stage One Sentence Correction videos. Thanks for watching!

Covered by…