Subjunctive(?): not critical that

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Mar 19 16:14:22 UTC 2008

At 3/19/2008 08:20 AM, Dennis Preston wrote:
>For me the subjunctive (whose disappearance I applaud daily, and not
>only in English) sounds better in the passive:
>[1] "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:
>[2] "It's not critical that everything is tied together."

Doesn't [2] potentially have the opposite sense from [1], and
therefore is at least ambiguous?  [1], being subjunctive, means that
it is the case that not everything is tied together.  [2] can be
interpreted as meaning that everything *is* tied together, but that's
not critical (i.e., some things could be loose and the situation
could still be acceptable).


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