Business Writing Essentials
Grammar

Subjunctive

There's this thing English teachers call subjunctive mood. It's really about how to use verbs in a special way when we are wishing for something or wanting something. Let's call them wishy/wanty verbs.

In a wishing mood: When expressing something you wish would be true, try to use the verb form were:

not quite right: I wish I was going to the convention next week.

the proper way: I wish I were going to the convention next week.

In a wanting mood: When expressing something you want to happen, and your sentence uses some form of the verb to be, use the form be with all three persons. It sounds like incorrect conjugation, I be, you be, she be, but it's the proper way to strongly express something you want to happen. Examples:

necessity: It is essential that I am allowed to attend.
[bad]

necessity: It is essential that I be allowed to attend.
[good]

demand: I demand that he is allowed to attend.
[bad]

demand: I demand that he be allowed to attend.
[good]

request: Some have asked that she is allowed to attend.
[bad]

request: Some have asked that she be allowed to attend.
[good]

urge: They urged that you are allowed to attend.
[bad]

urge: They urged that you be allowed to attend.
[good]

resolve: The committee resolved that we are allowed to attend.
[bad]

resolve: The committee resolved that we be allowed to attend.
[good]

In case it would help you remember these things, try memorizing the phrase:

Wish to Were, Want to Be

Lesson: Subjunctive
Module: Grammar
Course: Business Writing Essentials