When is the best time to use subjunctive where two ways are both acceptable at the same time

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SRPGgamer

Senior Member
Chinese
Folks! I am checking to see if this sentence makes sense to you.

"When is the best time to use subjunctive where two ways are both acceptable at the same time."


By two ways I mean the "subjunctive one" and "non-subjunctive one"

Here are some examples:
Anyway I will tell you once I remember the whole story.
Anyway I would tell you once I remembered the whole story.
 
  • 8lives

    New Member
    North American English
    subjunctive uses are controversial to say the last today and almost passe in modern language. The final rule of thumb today on when to use would probably be first wether it's functional and second does it come off the tongue nicely.

    Your second sentence isn't correct from several views. While the first sentence implies that you actually "will" impart the rest of the story, the second sentence uses the word "would" which begs for the word "if" and is an implication in part that you may not impart the rest of the story.

    Old school: Would that it were true.
    New school: I would if I could.

    Language is as much about intent of meaning as it is about the mechanics of assembly.

    Go to the english online wikipedia for interesting stuff on subjunctive.
     

    8lives

    New Member
    North American English
    Sorry.
    Plainly put:
    Your second sentence does not mean the same as your first sentence.

    Also, your second sentence is not grammatically correct in English.

    1. I will explain this to you when I think of a way.

    2. I would explain this to you if I could think of a way.

    Do you see the difference between the meaning of these two sentences?
     

    Burgundy Miss

    Senior Member
    English (West coast American)
    I think the problem is really that we would more commonly use sentence #2 in a "past context" and not call it a subjunctive. ("would" is the past of "will").
    ex. Anyway I said I would tell you once I remembered the whole story (...but I'm not sure that I will be able to remember it.)
     

    8lives

    New Member
    North American English
    I agree with Burgundy, and would add that the use of subjunctive moods and tenses are used differently depending on languages and dialects.
    Subjunctives don't always translate well.
    I suggest the OP check the chinese online wikipedia for answers that may be more clear.
     
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