Subjunctive(?): not critical that

Dennis Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Wed Mar 19 12:20:05 UTC 2008

For me the subjunctive (whose disappearance I applaud daily, and not
only in English) sounds better in the passive:

"It's not critical that everything be tied together."

And the indicative passive is not so good at least for one of the
subtle distinctions that we appear to be trying to make here:

"It's not critical that everything is tied together."


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>Subject:      Re: Subjunctive(?): not critical that
>Stand up for the subjunctive!  "Tie" sounds right to me
>too.  Presumably not everything is tied together presently.
>At 3/19/2008 04:38 AM, you wrote:
>  >I recently wrote a sentence, which said in part, "it's not critical
>  >that everything *tie* together."
>>My client wants to know if it should be "ties."
>>Is this a case of the fading subjunctive (in which case either is
>>okay), or is there something else going on here?
>>Benjamin Barrett
>>a cyberbreath for language life
>>The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48864 USA

The American Dialect Society -

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