Publication Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

First Advisor

Diane Larsen-Freeman


Contrary to most analyses, the subjunctive mode plays a major, if sometimes subtle, role in English grammar. Related western European languages have similar subjunctives, and examining the function of the Spanish and the morphology of the German subjunctives helps to illuminate the functions and forms of English.

There are two subjunctive forms in English, Sl and S2. Both have coalsesced with indicative forms, losing much of their saliency, the Sl to a much greater degree. For this reason, the Sl is much less common, surviving primarily in frozen formulations, Imperative Expressions, and as an adjunct to the imperative mode.

The S2 has a wider productive range of Expressions of Potential, which includes Verbs of Mental State and Softened Assertion. The full paradigm of the conditional covers both tense and mode while Reported Speech operates through mode rather than tense.

The modal verbs are the major locus of the subjunctive mode. Their grammar is severely reduced and a class of phrasal substitutes has also evolved. Would has developed into a subjunctive marker which is often inserted replacing declention of the main verb. This may be refered to in transformational terms as WOULD-support.

Appendix A presents a synopsis of the findings as a Teachers' Manual with student materials.

Appendix B shows how the findings would be accounted for in the phrase structure rules of transformational grammar.


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