insist + normal sentence OR insist + to-less verbal phrase

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shannenms

Senior Member
Persian
Sorry for asking this question. I had seen such a discussion a couple of yeas ago on this forum but I could not find it now.

I am wondering if it is still correct to say:

He insists that Susan should return the book immediately.

OR we have to categorically say:

He insists that Susan return the book immediately.


 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    No, there are always three possibilities with this sort of sentence. A subjunctive construction is never required. You can use subjunctive, indicative, or modal structures:

    (a) He insists that Susan return the book immediately.
    (b) He insists that Susan returns the book immediately.
    (c) He insists that Susan should return the book immediately.

    There are dialect preferences: AmE strongly prefers (a), while BrE prefers (b) and (c), though (a) is also used in more formal settings.
     

    shannenms

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Back when I was at school, we were taught that (b) is definitely wrong. We were always encouraged to use (a) or (c). My goal for asking this question here was to find a reference to an English grammar in which this subject is discussed. However, knowing about the dialectical preferences would be invaluable, and highly appreciated.
     
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