Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Subjunctive Mood


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Subjunctive Mood

Subjunctive means below the junction
of fact and fact, not quite up here
where things occur. It's a mood, and
I have always loved it, as it were.
It's contrary to fact, like fiction--
speculative, like poetry. "If I were
you," we say, "I'd visit Nebraska or
Tangiers," and for a brief counter-
factual moment, we're the other person
in Nebraska or Tangiers, and then we're
back here, offering advice in the
subjunctive mood, being grammatically
correct and ignored. If I were someone
else, I could still say, "If I were
someone else," ad infinitum, so to
speak, into subjunctive infinity,
the ultra-vast space of grammar.


Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom
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