Grammar Reference

The subjunctive - an introduction

The subjunctive is a verb form which expresses possible, unreal, imaginary or desirable situations. We see it most often in conditionals and wishes.

We also find it in sentences that start with: It + be + an adjective:

It is important that you go as soon as possible

It’s essential that he see a doctor

It’s crucial that they leave the building

It’s best that you not be at the meeting

These sentences are very formal. Notice that the form of the subjunctive is almost always the same as the form of the infinitive (except for be).

The other place we can find a subjunctive is with verbs like recommend and suggest:

I suggest that you be there on time

I recommend that he not drink so much again