• Using the English subjunctive

      English has a subjunctive mood (svenska: konjunktiv). Although this mood is not commonly used in speech or informal writing, it is often found in academic texts. Many types of academic texts posit hypothetical situations, or propose solutions to problems. Using the subjunctive properly in these situations gives a text a formal tone.

      To demonstrate how the subjunctive can be used, we can compare a real-life situation to a hypothetical situation. Here is a simple sentence that describes reality.

      The mosquito is a problem in Brazil, and so mosquito control programs are used there.

      In contrast, the subjunctive mood describes a situation that does not exist. Note that this mood is often used in sentences that have the word “if” in them.

      Norway might also implement such programs, if a disease-bearing mosquito were found there.

      The subjunctive mood can be used to make recommendations.

      We suggest that a mosquito control program be implemented soon.

      The subjunctive mood can also be used to express an opinion about a hypothetical outcome.

      It would be unfortunate if a mosquito control program were not implemented.

      Note that when the subject is singular (as it is in the last three sentences), the verb “to be” is conjugated differently.