demand/request/suggest that [bare infinitive / subjunctive / indicative]

  • rodoke

    Senior Member
    en-US; .us
    Two things about that:

    1. The verb's not an infinitive, but a present subjunctive.
    2. The subjunctive mood has been "dying, but not quite dead yet" for quite a while. It still has its place in formal and literary registers.
     

    technostick

    New Member
    English, England.
    I think this is one case in which the subjunctive is not dying out, at least in AE. In BE, one often uses the modal verb "should", which makes no sense at all.

    "I demand that he should speak properly", instead of "I demand that he speak properly".
     

    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    But most of AmEn speakers prefer saying "I demand that he speaks properly" to "I demand that he speak properly", don't they? (Or am I wrong on this?)
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    But most of AmEn speakers prefer saying "I demand that he speaks properly" to "I demand that he speak properly", don't they? (Or am I wrong on this?)
    Not sure about that. According to this site (which is, I think, fairly clear, informative and accurate about the use of the subjunctive)....
    The Indicative

    This construction is also used sometimes in British English, but is rare in American English:
    She has demanded that the machinery undergoes vigorous tests to ensure high quality.
    (my emphasis)...it seems to be the opposite.

    EDIT : ..therefore, I agree with mplsray :)
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Thanks!

    I demand that he immediately ( ) back to Taiwan.
    1 go, 2 goes

    If you were a teacher, would you accept 2 as a correct answer?

    As an American, I would not. In fact, the indicative is used so rarely in such a construction that I would expect even most of those Americans who use the nonstandard If I was youinstead of If I were youwould say I demand that he immediately go back to Taiwan. (Or would say the same thing with the indicative but with slightly different wording: I demand that he go back to Taiwan right now. A person who habitually says If I was you would be unlikely to say immediately go.)

    In British English this use of the indicative is more acceptable. I recently heard an anchor of the BBC News (shown here on PBS) use the indicative in such a case, which I found quite jarring. But I don't know if a British teacher would mark as wrong I demand that he immediately goes back to Taiwan.
     

    jcho321

    Member
    korean
    Hi guys,
    I have a question about passive voice.

    Here are some sample sentences.

    "People would prefer that the event be postponed until next month."
    "They demanded the event be postponed."

    I'm confused about "to be" and "be" in passive voice.
    Someone asked me the difference and I have no idea.

    Basically, my question is when can I use "be" without "to" in passive voice.
    Do you understand my question?
    Isn't it correct to say, "They demanded the event to be postponed"?
    Or I can say, "I don't want the test to be postponed."

    So why are some sentences without "to" is my question.

    Isn't it just formal written English???

    I'm confused!!
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    What you are really seeing is the use of the present subjunctive after certain verbs of commanding, asking, preferring, etc.

    I ask that they have their homework done before they come to class.

    As you can see, "have" here looks just like the blank infinitive "have", but it's really in the present subjunctive, which is only used in US English under certain circumstances . I think it's pretty unusual in many other places, too. Here are a few more examples:

    I'd prefer that you be on time. I'd rather that he be on time.
    He ordered that she hand in her work right away.


    There are many ways to use verbs, and this one is confusing because of the similarity between the present subjunctive and the bare infinitive. Here are a couple of examples with the bare infinitive: I see him run every day. They listened to her sing.

    Here's the present subjunctive: He asked that she sing louder.

    Once again, you can't tell just by looking at them which one is which. One trick to remember is that if the word "that" comes after a verb of desire, command, request, etc., then you'll probably use the present subjunctive. Many people use the past subjunctive instead of the present subjunctive in certain expressions that have the same meaning: I'd rather that he be on time = I'd rather that he were on time. (past subjunctive)
     
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    jcho321

    Member
    korean
    Thanks owlman5!
    I'm still a little confused only because I'm not really good with grammar.

    I looked up subjunctive mood, and I learned that present subjunctive of "to be" is "be". So that explains.

    Is that mean the sentence below is wrong???

    "They demanded the event to be postponed"
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Moderator's note:

    I have merged the recent thread with an earlier one on the same subject.
    Please read from the beginning.

    :)
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    I believe that you do not know the difference between subjunctive and indicative! The former is a nuance of speech: it is formal, stronger and more polite than the indicative! The main idea is that short infinitive is for this type of (e.g.) business-like conversation, religious and scientific assertions, political statements and long infinitive is used in the indicative, (e.g.) a normal, day by day conversation. As you could see from owlman5's beautiful examples, language offers you tools and means to express yourself in various ways under various circumstances, like in formal vs informal, modality (may, might, can, could), aso.
    That is the reason the subjunctive mood is not so common for ordinary people. It involves much more attention to the language: advice, wishes, commands, requests. These are not ordinary, they are special and needs to be said differently!

    This should help you!
     
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    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Actually, in American English, 'ordinary people' do use the subjunctive in this particular construction, as was said above.

    The present subjunctive has the same form as the "bare infinitive", the infinitive without to. This sentence will be correct if you leave out "to":
    They demanded the event [to] be postponed.
    I would include "that":
    They demanded that the event be postponed.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    So...
    Is this right or wrong???

    "They demanded the event to be postponed."

    I'm not sure demand is one of those verbs that can take an infinitive clause.
    Some verbs can (like want, for instance), others can't.
    They wanted the event to be postponed :tick:
    They demanded the event to be postponed :confused:
    They demanded that the event be postponed :tick:


    However, I'm not being totally assertive here, as I've seen sentences like
    He demanded arrangements to be made....

    What we've heard from the natives so far seems to suggest they would rule out such a sentence or, at least, prefer the version with that and the subjunctive.
     
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    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Sorry, no offense intended in my explanation. I meant by 'ordinary', people that do not master language and its rules.
    I apologise again.
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Sorry, no offense intended in my explanation. I meant by 'ordinary', people that do not master language and its rules.
    I apologise again.
    Yes, "ordinary" people, uneducated people - in American English, the subjunctive is commonly used.
     

    jcho321

    Member
    korean
    Learning a foreign language is so difficult...
    especially when it comes to confusing grammar rules...
    but it's fun!!
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    With subjunctive, that is optional:

    I prefer (that) the event be postponed.
    They asked/demanded (that) the event be postponed.

    With the subject of a to infinitive, always objective in form, American English often allows an optional for:

    I prefer (for) the event to be postponed.
    They asked/demanded (for) the event to be postponed.

    Though the subjunctive structure resembles the infinitive structure, the grammatical relationships within can be quite different:

    The Queen commands that he attend the ceremony.
    [Others are ordered to assure that he will attend.]
    Note the subjective pronoun with subjunctive.

    The Queen commands him to attend the ceremony.
    [He is ordered directly by the Queen.]
    Note the objective form of the pronoun.
    Also note that for does not fit here because he is being commanded. In the demanded example, it is not the event that was demanded but its postponement.

    Even we natives can get confused about all this (see this thread):

    They asked her not to run away. [They asked her.]
    They asked that she not run away. [Whom did they ask?]

    They asked her not to be identified.
    [Did they really ask her?]
    They asked for her not to be identified. [This makes more sense to me.]
    I met the woman whom they asked not to be identified. [Can for be understood here?]

    They asked
    (that) she not be identified.
    I met the woman who they asked not be identified. [correct]
     
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    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Yes, very funny esp. when you do not have this grammar issue in your language, and I mean Romanian. But we have the conjunctive mood instead: <non-English removed> "I'd like you to talk to me" and that English do not possess.
    In fact, I have always asked myself what is the need of subjunctive when you have modals and other means to express it?
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    And what about "suggest"? Is the use of the indicative wrong? For example: "I suggested that he sells his old car"
    In my version of BrE, that would certainly be possible, except that I'd be likely to use a different sequence of tenses:
    I suggested he sold his old car
    I suggest he sells his old car.

    (See mplsray's comment about BrE earlier in the thread:).)
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    As an American, I would not. In fact, the indicative is used so rarely in such a construction that I would expect even most of those Americans who use the nonstandard If I was youinstead of If I were youwould say I demand that he immediately go back to Taiwan. (Or would say the same thing with the indicative but with slightly different wording: I demand that he go back to Taiwan right now. A person who habitually says If I was you would be unlikely to say immediately go.)

    I seem to have gotten confused at this point. I meant, "Or would say the same thing with slightly different wording, but still using the subjunctive...."

    In British English this use of the indicative is more acceptable. I recently heard an anchor of the BBC News (shown here on PBS) use the indicative in such a case, which I found quite jarring. But I don't know if a British teacher would mark as wrong I demand that he immediately goes back to Taiwan.
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Dear Forero,

    I am smiling at your confusion as natives. Can you then imagine ours?
    For instance, I believe or better sense it (non-natively speaking) that Subjunctive belongs to the study of either Pragmatics and Semantics since we are talking about directness versus indirectness at the level of communication - the formally written form, as in your example with "The Queen commands that he attend ..." versus the oral form: "The Queen commands him to ...do something". I can see these sentences adressed directly (and not indirectly by the Queen) by using 2 types of communication: a missive (therefore, carried out by others) and a direct order.

    The second examples you have presented, I am lost forever: what do we have here: a "John Doe" of the English language (she-her: what is the difference, do we know the female?). In fact, what is the purpose of communication: to clearly get any message but I think that with Subjunctive this becomes fuzzy because getting the message depends on the TRANSMITER, I mean what he/she/they need/feel/urge/wish to pass on.

    Thank you,
    Irina
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    My answer to the original question is that this sentence structure is alive and well in American English and I do not expect it to be dying out any time soon.

    It is used to express a certain kind of imposition of will or an opinion about something that might be done.

    For example, suggest can be used different ways with different meanings:

    I suggest that the sun actually goes round the earth.
    I suggest that he has his car with him (already).
    I suggest that he have his car with him (when he comes tomorrow).

    I find all three of these sentences grammatical. The last of them expresses my wish or opinion about what he might do, and the other two express theories or things I think should be considered, which involves a different kind of suggesting.

    This "sentence" makes no sense to me:

    I suggest him to have his car with him.

    I just don't say "I suggest <a person>" except as a sort of nominating for something (e.g. "I suggested him for treasurer.").

    Demand does not have the possible meaning of bringing a theory or idea up for consideration, but LV4-26 has brought up another interesting distinction. I might say "He demanded arrangements to be made", with the possible meaning "He demanded that arrangements be made", but I would not say "They demanded the event to be postponed." The difference is that "arrangements to be made" is indefinite— he wants there to be arrangements made— but "the event" is definite in the sense that it is already scheduled. The sentence about the event seems to give "demand" a strange meaning.

    Note also that "He demanded arrangements to be made" is ambiguous. It might mean that he demanded arrangements that were "to be made". Another less ambiguous example: "He demanded a baby to be fed" might mean that he wanted a baby that he could feed, but "He demanded that a baby be fed" does not mean this at all. It means that he wants someone to feed a baby.

    He demanded that someone feed the baby. [Here the demand is to get the baby fed.]
    He demanded someone to feed the baby. [Here the demand is for a person, a "someone", that will feed the baby.]

    Asking "her" to do something is making a request directly to her, whether we know her or not, as opposed to asking that "she" do something, which may be making a request of a group of people, for example.

    "They asked the baby to be fed" sounds silly, since the baby cannot carry out the command, but "They asked that the baby be fed" is asking that someone feed the baby.
    "They demanded the baby to be fed" to me means that they wanted the baby, the one that was to be fed. "They demanded that the baby be fed" is asking, with insistence, that someone feed the baby.

    I hope this makes sense.
     

    irinet

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Thank you, for your explicitness. Examples are very clear now. You see, we do not have this type of mood and it is hard to understand insistence, for instance, when it is expressed by Subjunctive instead of using the verb 'insist' in the Indicative as we do. Therefore, I will be asking many questions about it when I feel lost in getting the message. Books are not enough.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Thank you, for your explicitness. Examples are very clear now. You see, we do not have this type of mood and it is hard to understand insistence, for instance, when it is expressed by Subjunctive instead of using the verb 'insist' in the Indicative as we do. Therefore, I will be asking many questions about it when I feel lost in getting the message. Books are not enough.
    You're welcome.

    The insistence is not expressed by the subjunctive. "Insistence" was just my attempt to express one of the differences between asking and demanding, a difference that is small enough to allow both verbs, ask and demand, to use the same structure, the subjunctive clause, as object expressing essentially the same idea connecting the verb and its object, the idea of will or opinion.

    Note also that ask can take an indirect object, but in my experience demand cannot. Asking someone something means asking something of someone, or posing a question to someone, but though "demanding something of someone" makes sense, we just don't say "demand someone something." To me, "They demanded the baby ...", puts the baby in the role of the "something" and, if an infinitive follows, that infinitive will not be an object of demanded but must be playing some other role.
     

    TommyGun

    Senior Member
    You're welcome.

    The insistence is not expressed by the subjunctive. ...
    Why not? For example:
    1. He demanded that someone feed the baby. =
    2. He demanded that someone should feed the baby,

    where should is the past form of the command shall from The Pure System. I took the term Pure System from Fowler 1908, ch. 2 Shall and Will.
    And yes, as we can't guarantee the result, we use should, not shall.
    So, I think this should do suggest insistence itself. And as the meanings of (1) and (2) are the same, subjunctive has something to do with insistence, doesn't it?
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    I think not. The "should" in (2) is not the "should" of insistence that it is in (say) "You should do that". It is rather a mere marker of non-factual or potential action. In Old English the subjunctive was used almost exclusively instead, but with the decay of inflectional endings in Middle English, and the consequent fusion of many of the indicative and subjunctive verb-forms, "should" become established as a marker as an alternative to the present subjunctive.

    In present-day English, especially in BrE, we often now use the indicative to describe non-factual or potential action, and the result is sometimes ambiguous. The indicative is also conceptually inappropriate in that it comes loaded with a tense, but tense is a means of discriminating between the factual past, present, and future. The present subjunctive uses a plain unencumbered non-tensed form of the verb which is entirely appropriate for an event which sits neither in the past, nor the present, nor even necessarily in the future. And "should" is a useful alternative where the present subjunctive and indicative forms coincide.
     

    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I think this is one case in which the subjunctive is not dying out, at least in AE. In BE, one often uses the modal verb "should", which makes no sense at all.

    "I demand that he should speak properly", instead of "I demand that he speak properly".

    What you are saying is that the way BE speakers use "should" in subjunctive makes no sense?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    first, you question may be taken as suggesting that all BE speakers use that construction. That is not so.

    Next, I don't think technostick is entirely correct. I'm not convinced that "In BE, one often uses" is true. I would say, "occasionally and colloquially".

    However, I agree that "I demand that he should speak properly." is incorrect: you demand that something happen; not that it should happen.
     

    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I think not. The "should" in (2) is not the "should" of insistence that it is in (say) "You should do that". It is rather a mere marker of non-factual or potential action. ...

    In present-day English, especially in BrE, we often now use the indicative to describe non-factual or potential action, and the result is sometimes ambiguous. The indicative is also conceptually inappropriate in that it comes loaded with a tense, but tense is a means of discriminating between the factual past, present, and future. The present subjunctive uses a plain unencumbered non-tensed form of the verb which is entirely appropriate for an event which sits neither in the past, nor the present, nor even necessarily in the future. And "should" is a useful alternative where the present subjunctive and indicative forms coincide.

    ...

    Next, I don't think technostick is entirely correct. I'm not convinced that "In BE, one often uses" is true. I would say, "occasionally and colloquially".

    However, I agree that "I demand that he should speak properly." is incorrect: you demand that something happen; not that it should happen.

    How should "occasionally and colloquially" be understood?

    As Pertinax pointed out, "should" has become mere marker of non-factual or potential action in subjunctive, no longer carrying the sense of "should" as in "You should do that".
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    ... I agree that "I demand that he should speak properly." is incorrect: you demand that something happen; not that it should happen.
    I don't understand your reasoning, PaulQ.

    -----

    Aaargh - for the avoidance of doubt, that means "I disagree with you":D
     

    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    In my version of BrE, that would certainly be possible, except that I'd be likely to use a different sequence of tenses:

    I suggested he sold his old car

    ...

    Is this sentence indicative or subjunctive?

    What should the subjunctive be for the past tense verb "suggested"? Should it be "I suggested he sells his old car"? (note: "sell" not "sells" here.)
     

    giuggiola91

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Is this sentence indicative or subjunctive?

    What should the subjunctive be for the past tense verb "suggested"? Should it be "I suggested he sells his old car"?:tick: (note: "sell" not "sells" here.)

    As far as I know, your sentence is correct, and the previous sentences (with "sold") is not exactly correct (at least it's what my grammar book says ) but you can hear a lot of native speakers that use it :) along with:

    "I suggested he sells his old car"
    "I suggested he should sell his old car"
    (used a lot in BE)
    "I suggested he sold his old car"

    The present subjuctive ("I suggested he sell his old car") is largely used in AmE and in formal contexts

    *edit: if someone thinks that I've said something wrong, please correct me
     
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    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    In British English this use of the indicative is more acceptable. I recently heard an anchor of the BBC News (shown here on PBS) use the indicative in such a case, which I found quite jarring. But I don't know if a British teacher would mark as wrong I demand that he immediately goes back to Taiwan.

    I'm not so sure that it is. I would visibly wince if I heard someone say, ''I demand that he is removed from the classroom''. Even amongst the almost totally uneducated (in Ireland at least, including the bit still part of the UK), the subjective is in active use.

    I would never say, ''I suggest that he sells his old car'', though, at the same time, I would never try to ''correct'' someone who does.
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    The "present" subjunctive is used after certain verbs, nouns, and adjectives to express a prospective future over which someone has control or about which someone has an opinion. For example:

    They demanded/requested/recommended that she go.
    Such action necessitated that she go.
    Their demand/request/recommendation was that she go.
    It was demanded/recommended/recommendable/necessary/imperative that she go.

    But some verbs, nouns, and adjectives that can be used this way (to express opinion about or control over a prospective future) may also be used to express opinion or testimony concerning whether something is fact:

    They suggest/insist that she goes/went.
    I will heed their suggestion/insistence that she goes/went.
    It is important/essential/vital that she goes/went.

    Here present tense refers to a present fact (at least in someone's mind) and past tense refers to a past fact. But "present" subjunctive in the same sentences would refer to a prospective future, not to fact:

    They suggest/insist that she go.
    I will heed their suggestion/insistence that she go.
    It is important/essential/vital that she go.

    In modern usage, the subjunctive in such contexts retains the same form as a bare infinitive even in past tense:

    They suggested/insisted that she go.
    I would heed their suggestion/insistence that she go.
    It was important/essential/vital that she go.
     

    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I would never say, ''I suggest that he sells his old car'', though, at the same time, I would never try to ''correct'' someone who does.

    I feel that "sells" should be changed to either "has sold" or "sold", for the reason that "sells" carries a transient sense and that its present tense here can not convey a fact.

    ''I suggest that he plays Hamlet'' is different, as "plays" has a continuous meaning that can expresses an ongoing event or fact.


    But some verbs, nouns, and adjectives that can be used this way (to express opinion about or control over a prospective future) may also be used to express opinion or testimony concerning whether something is fact:

    They suggest/insist that she goes/went.

    What does "she goes" mean here? And how can it be seen as a fact?
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    I would never say, ''I suggest that he sells his old car'', though, at the same time, I would never try to ''correct'' someone who does.
    I feel that "sells" should be changed to either "has sold" or "sold", for the reason that "sells" carries a transient sense and that its present tense here can not convey a fact.

    ''I suggest that he plays Hamlet'' is different, as "plays" has a continuous meaning that can expresses an ongoing event or fact.
    "He sells his old car" is a grammatical statement, something that can be either true or false, so the idea that he sells his old car is something I might want to mention. To bring that idea up in a conversation, I might say "I suggest that he sells his old car."

    In the same way, any grammatical statement, whether true or false, can have "I suggest that" tacked on in front of it:

    I suggest that he sells his old car to buy a new one.
    I suggest that he sold his old car to buy a new one.
    I suggest that he is selling his old car to buy a new one.
    I suggest that he will sell his old car to buy a new one.
    But some verbs, nouns, and adjectives that can be used this way (to express opinion about or control over a prospective future) may also be used to express opinion or testimony concerning whether something is fact:

    They suggest/insist that she goes/went.
    What does "she goes" mean here? And how can it be seen as a fact?
    "She goes" is also a grammatical statement. It is rather terse and ambiguous, but it is valid.

    For example, "I suggest that she goes" might mean "Let me interject the idea that she regularly goes (or plans to go) with us on our outings."

    But "I suggest that she go" cannot mean this. It might mean "Let us entertain the propect of her going with us on our next outing", for example.

    Insisting might be easier to explain than suggesting. If I say "I insist that she go with us", I have decided to have her go with us and am adamant in my decision; but if I say "I insist that she goes with us", I know for sure that she does go with us and am adamant in my certainty.
     
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    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    "He sells his old car" is a grammatical statement, something that can be either true or false, so the idea that he sells his old car is something I might want to mention. To bring that idea up in a conversation, I might say "I suggest that he sells his old car."

    In the same way, any grammatical statement, whether true or false, can have "I suggest that" tacked on in front of it:

    I suggest that he sells his old car to buy a new one.
    I suggest that he sold his old car to buy a new one.
    I suggest that he is selling his old car to buy a new one.
    I suggest that he will sell his old car to buy a new one.

    "He sells his old car" is a grammatical statement, something that can be either true or false.

    In the indicative construction of "I suggest that...", the clause after "that' indicates a fact. A fact is a past act or an ongoing event, which the present tense "sells" can't convey due to the lack of static meaning for "sells", on the contrary, "sold", "is selling" and "will sell" can. Comments?


    As I understand, all these examples are indicative, in which "suggest" means "imply" or "hint", not giving an idea or suggestion, is that correct?

    If indicative rather than subjunctive is stated in these sentences, it's hard to imagine the context which gives rise to the meaning of "I imply" or "I hint".
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    "He sells his old car" is a grammatical statement, something that can be either true or false.

    In the indicative construction of "I suggest that...", the clause after "that' indicates a fact. A fact is a past act or an ongoing event, which the present tense "sells" can't convey due to the lack of static meaning for "sells", on the contrary, "sold", "is selling" and "will sell" can. Comments?
    Present tense sells can mean "has a habit of selling", among other possibilities. A habit is a state.

    But the contrast between active and static is irrelevant to our context. Regardless of whether sells expresses a state, "He sells his old car" is a grammatical clause in the indicative. A grammatical clause in the indicative can express a fact, or it can express something false, something believable or something incredible.

    By itself, a clause in the indicative makes a claim, but a clause in the indicative subordinated to something else is just an idea, not a claim. If we put "It is not true that" in front of an indicative clause, the new sentence actually makes the opposite claim. Put "It occurs to me that" in front of an indicative clause and the new sentence claims only that I am thinking it, not that it is true, and not that it is false.
    As I understand, all these examples are indicative, in which "suggest" means "imply" or "hint", not giving an idea or suggestion, is that correct?
    The clause after "I suggest that" does not have to be true or even believed to be suggested.

    Suggestion is the noun form of suggest. Anything suggested is a suggestion. A suggestion may be a hint or innuendo, it may be a hypothesis, or it may just be something a person chooses to mention.
    If indicative rather than subjunctive is stated in these sentences, it's hard to imagine the context which gives rise to the meaning of "I imply" or "I hint".
    I have no problem imagining it.
     

    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Present tense sells can mean "has a habit of selling", among other possibilities. A habit is a state.
    Could a context be given to show how I suggest that he sells his old car to buy a new one expresses the meaning of "a habit of selling"?

    As I understand, all these examples are indicative, in which "suggest" means "imply" or "hint", not giving an idea or suggestion, is that correct?
    The clause after "I suggest that" does not have to be true or even believed to be suggested.

    If the clause does not have to be believed to be suggested, what would it be thought of?

    If indicative rather than subjunctive is stated in these sentences, it's hard to imagine the context which gives rise to the meaning of "I imply" or "I hint".

    I have no problem imagining it.

    An example for the context?
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Could a context be given to show how I suggest that he sells his old car to buy a new one expresses the meaning of "a habit of selling"?
    For example:

    A: Every time the wind changes, he sells his car.
    B: I suggest that every time the wind changes, he wants a new car.
    A: But wanting a new car does not mean selling an old one.
    B: I suggest that he sells his old car to buy a new one. He could not afford a new one so often otherwise.
    If the clause does not have to be believed to be suggested, what would it be thought of?
    I have already listed some possibilities ("I suggest x" can mean "I offer x as a hint or innuendo", "I offer x as a hypothesis", or just "Let me mention x").
    An example for the context?
    See B's statements in the example above.
     

    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    For example:

    A: Every time the wind changes, he sells his car.
    B: I suggest that every time the wind changes, he wants a new car.
    A: But wanting a new car does not mean selling an old one.
    B: I suggest that he sells his old car to buy a new one. He could not afford a new one so often otherwise.


    Is this a common way to use "suggest" in daily speech? Also, what does "the wind changes" refer to? Is it an idiom?

    What does "to be suggested" mean in the sentence the clause after "I suggest that" does not have to be true or even believed to be suggested.? Does "to be suggested" mean "to be brought up as an opinion"? If I say "I suggest that", "that" should of course is something that is believed to be suggested by me, is my understanding correct?

    ("I suggest x" can mean "I offer x as a hint or innuendo", "I offer x as a hypothesis", or just "Let me mention x")

    Is there a dictionary entry showing the sense of "I offer x as a hypothesis" and "let me mention x" meant
    by "I suggest" ?
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    B: I suggest that he sells his old car to buy a new one. He could not afford a new one so often otherwise. =
    B: I suggest to you that his method is, he sells his old car to buy a new one: he could not afford a new one so often otherwise.

    This use of suggest is often found in films/movies of the "Court-Room Drama" type:
    Lawyer: "Did you kill your wife?!"
    Defendant: "No! How could I have done that? I was at the party from eight o'clock until midnight, and she was killed at 10 o'clock!"
    Lawyer: "I suggest that you left the party and drove back home. I suggest you already had the gun, and I suggest that you broke the window of your own house. I suggest that you then... etc."

    OED:
    c. Const. clause or inf.: To put forward the notion, opinion, or proposition (that, etc.).
    1871 B. Jowett in tr. Plato Dialogues I. 71 They suggest that Socrates should be invited to take part in the consultation.
     
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