Monday, May 15, 2006

Grammar: a declarative irrealis mood content clause

languagelog 003150.html

if as a subordinator to introduce a declarative irrealis mood content clause, and that this is one of the grammatical possibilities with the matrix verb prefer.

if introduces a finite clause in which the verb is in the special irrealis form if the verb has one.

The inflectional system of English is much less complex than it was a thousand years ago,
and today there is only one verb that has an irrealis form that is (in spelling and pronunciation) different from its preterite.
That verb is be. And even for be, there are only two contexts in which you can tell the irrealis from the preterite:
the first person singular (if I were you) and
the third person singular (if he were really smart).

In all other person/number combinations, were is the preterite form too,

but in these two the preterite would be was, so we can see whether the irrealis is being used.



*********Excellent ref here


Also to X-Ref to conditional futur subjunctive potential virtual mood (valid in french and spanish)

1 comment:

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