unusual subjunctive

James Harbeck jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA
Thu May 15 01:43:55 UTC 2008


A painter, photographer, printmaker, choreographer, onstage
performer, set designer and, in later years, even a composer, Mr.
Rauschenberg defied the traditional idea that an artist stick to one
medium or style.


I could go with "suggestion that..." or something similarly deontic,
but "idea that..." with a subjunctive (rather than "should" or "ought
to", for instance) seems to me like an application of the subjunctive
by someone who doesn't really quite have a natural feel for it. Or is
this more common than I think?

James Harbeck.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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