Conditional vs. Subjunctive

What’s the difference between conditional sentences and subjunctive moods? Conditional sentences are usually introduced by ‘If’ while subjunctive moods are often introduced by ‘wish’. The subjunctive moods use the simple form of the verb; the infinitive without the “to”.


Compare these examples:

• If I were rich, I would travel around the world. (Conditional)

• I wish I were rich. (Subjunctive)


The conditional sentences are only used to express certain conditions. They can be real conditions or unreal ones.


The subjunctive mood is the verb form used to express a wish, a suggestion, or a command.


The following verbs often attract the subjunctive mood: ask, command, demand, insist, order, recommend, suggest, and wish. (Use the simple form of the verb. The simple form is the infinitive without the “to”.)



• She suggests that Mark work full time from Saturday.

[Mark works becomes Mark work]

• He said it was essential that Jeremy guard the box.

[Jeremy guards becomes Jeremy guard]

• It is imperative that the game begin at once.

[game begins becomes game begin]

• I wish it were still in use.

[it was becomes it were]


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