be based on or is based on

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flowersophy

Senior Member
Chinese-China
Hi,

We must ensure that economic development is based on science and technology and that the development of science and technology be based on the needs of the economy. The two aspects must be well-harmonised.

The passage above is quoted from an English textbook. I think "be based on" should be "is based on". Am I right?

Many thanks!
 
  • manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    The passage above is quoted from an English textbook. I think "be based on" should be "is based on". Am I right?

    Many thanks!
    I think it's not ungrammatical to use present subjunctive "be based on" with the verb "ensure", but it's just uncommon and therefore not idiomatic these days, I guess.
    If I had to write this sentence, I'd use "is based on" (or "will be based on" in order to avoid the apparent paradox "A is based on B and B is based on A").
    I don't "feel" a distinct difference in meaning between present subjunctive and indicative in this sentence.

    Let's wait and see how native speakers perceive this.
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    Thank you for your answer! But the problem is that I haven't found any examples where "ensure" is used in subjunctive mood.:confused:
    I did! Look at this thread. (or enter "ensure with subjunctive" in the WR search box and you will find additional threads)

    This thread is a good example for how different native speakers use their language differently.
    I already knew that present subjunctive is practically non-existent in everyday BE (outside of set phrases and historical writings or outside literary English where subjunctive is used to set a specific tone or mood), but this thread shows that also in AE you get the full spectrum of opinions. Some say subjunctive is wrong, some say the opposite, and some others say they could see themselves using it in written language but not in spoken form.

    If you want to be on the safe side with modern English, avoid subjunctive with "make sure/ensure".
     
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