I suggest that she be/should be there at two o'clock ...

Funambule

Senior Member
Dutch
Good morning,

In the introduction to The BBI Dictionary Of English Word Combinations it says on page xxv:

'Some L-pattern verbs can be followed by a clause either with the subjunctive of with the indicative; there is a difference in meaning. Compare: I suggest that she be/should be there at two o'clock - the facts suggest that she is there.'

I can't see the difference in meaning. Who can?

Kind regards,

Funambule
 
  • parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    Hi Funambule,

    I think you have to look for the difference between

    I suggest that she be/should be there at two o'clock

    and

    the facts suggest that she is there.

    The difference between these two sentences is that the first tells you that she should be there (i.e. that it would be good for her to be there), and the second that she is there.

    Hope it helped.
     
    Last edited:

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi Funambule

    I suggest that she be/should be there at two o'clock
    It's now 10am. John has asked me what time Mary should get to the railway station to catch the 14:15 train. My suggestion is that she should be there at two o'clock. It would be a good idea if she got there by then.

    the facts suggest that she is there
    It's now 2pm. We know that Mary left the house at 1:30, that it's a ten-minute walk to the railway station and that there have been no accidents or incidents causing road closures. The facts suggest that Mary is at the railway station. She's probably there.
     

    Funambule

    Senior Member
    Dutch
    Ah, of course, I thought that the facts suggest that she is there was the explanation of the difference between 'be' and 'should be'.

    Thanks.

    Funambule
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Compare: I suggest that she be/should be there at two o'clock - the facts suggest that she is there.'

    No matter how I look at this sentence it is incomprehensible.
    What am I supposed to compare?
    Following what seems to me to be the clear indication given by the / ...
    A: I suggest that she be there at two o'clock - the facts suggest that she is there.
    B: I suggest that she should be there at two o'clock - the facts suggest that she is there.
    :confused:
     

    parap

    Senior Member
    Mainly US English
    What I got from it is that you're supposed to compare I suggest that she be there at two o'clock and I suggest that she should be there at two o'clock with the facts suggest that she is there. But that's only my interpretation of it. I agree that the author could have been clearer.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I agree with everyone that this is very badly set out (although this appears to be a highly regarded reference book). I think we can only rely on what can be meant from context. I would therefore say that two sentences are being compared with this pattern:
    [Subject] suggest(s) that she [to be in contrasting moods] there.
    The moods compared are (A) subjunctive/subjunctive replacement "should+infinitive", and (B) indicative.
    (A) "I suggest she be there at two o'clock" (subjunctive: used for commands and strong suggestions, etc.)
    (B) "The facts suggest she is there." (indicative: a statement of fact, suggested fact in this case.)

    The slashed options seem to be there to allow for the fact that statements with subjunctive intent are often stated modally (should + inf.), particularly in Britain, rather than using the subjunctive itself. However, in mood they have the same effect.

    I wouldn't call "should be" purely indicative in any case, as it is modal, so it would not make a clear comparison with the subjunctive.
     
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