(yet) Another doubt whether to use subjunctive or not


New Member
Hi all,
A discussion started in the office about a specific phrase in an official document that needs to be sent; a couple of us insist that we should use a subjunctive, a couple of us say it is not needed (and using a subjunctive when not needed sounds weird/heavy).

Here is the phrase (real name changed to XYZ for obvious reasons):
"The developer shall either take into account the whole XYZ or, in case the XYZ executable code be considered as the whole XYZ, choose a different wording in order to make this clear."

1) What tense should we put?
BE - subjunctive with a slight hypothetical nuance
IS - indicative​

2) Are they both correct?
To me it sounds strange to say "the subjunctive is not needed there"... we either need to use it or not!

  • DadeMurphy

    New Member
    As a friend used to tell me:

    Ok, is it archaic as old proper grammar and it should be used in correct writing, or archaic as in obsolete and just not used any more even in formal/official writing?


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Present subjunctives are no longer used at all (in any normal style of writing) for conditional meaning. They are still used with 'mandative' meaning (after words conveying a demand, command, recommendation, suggestion):

    :cross: if / in case the code be considered . . .
    :tick: we recommend/suggest/insist the code be considered . . . [this is optional, but perfectly normal today]

    I read 'if it be' in maths books from the 1950s, and it pulls me up short, seeing it in something so 'recent'. It possibly lingered on there longer than elsewhere.


    New Member
    Entangledbank, I see your point and I guess that clears things out (also on why sometimes we do use present subjunctives - and sometimes we don't).

    Thanks to both of you for the support!
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