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Thread: as if/as though subjunctive

  1. #1
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    Default as if/as though subjunctive

    The sentence feels too reduced, as though it needs 'and' included.




    Does 'as though' require the subjunctive here--even though it does actually 'need' (not hypothetical)?


    Ta

  2. #2
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    To me the hypothetical exists anyway, once you have the

    feel / as though

    combination in place.

    The question is how formal and how hypothetical you want to make it.

    Now, this is a real situation:

    If "and" needs to be included, the sentence is too reduced.

    and this is a hypothetical one:

    If "and" would need to be included, the sentence were too reduced.

    or:

    If "and" need be included, the sentence were/would be too reduced.

    Published examples similar to the last one:

    ----
    Alcoholism and drug dependence: a multidisciplinary approach‎ - Page 125

    John Spencer Madden, Robin Walker, W. H. Kenyon - Psychology - 1977 - 479 pages

    The relationship if it exists need not be causal and even if it were its direction would be uncertain.
    ----
    Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York, Volume 11‎ - Page 484

    New York (State). Legislature. Assembly - History - 1914

    ... of earth (which, if it need be purchased, would not cost more than $1) would
    inoculate a whole acre very much more satisfactorily than the chance seed.
    ----
    Neurology in Clinical Practice: Principles of diagnosis and management‎ - Page 95

    Walter George Bradley - Medical - 2000 - 2413 pages

    Localization, if it need be sought, would have to be seen in the context of
    subcortical and ...

    ----
    Last edited by Marius Hancu; 02-08-2010 at 02:12 AM.

  3. #3
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    Now, once you decide to use as though, if you want to make your sentence very formal (and less probable as a situation), use the subjunctive mood:

    The sentence feels too reduced, as though it need include 'and'.

    ---
    The Extra Day‎ - Page 170

    Algernon Blackwood - Fiction - 2004 - 268 pages

    For a bloom of exquisite, fresh wonder lay upon the earth, lay softly and secure
    as though it need never pass away. No fading of daylight could dim the

    ---
    The Oxford English Literary History.‎ - Page 370

    Jonathan Bate, Philip Davis, James Simpson, Chris Baldick, Bruce Alvin King, Randall Stevenson - English literature - 2002 - 631 pages

    ... and Daughters is like what she says of Trollope's Framley Parsonage, a novel
    that seems as though it need never be conclusive but could go on for ever. .
    ----

    If you want to make it less formal, use the indicative, as in your:

    The sentence feels too reduced, as though it needs 'and' included.

    but I prefer:

    The sentence feels too reduced, as though it needs to include 'and'.

    which to me sounds less awkward.

    See in published books:

    35 on "as though it needs to"
    http://books.google.com/books?as_q=&...isbn=&as_issn=

    ----
    Hume on causation‎ - Page 87

    Helen Beebee - Philosophy - 2006 - 236 pages

    ... if that feeling is to count as the impression-source of the idea of
    necessary connection it looks as though it needs to have a distinctive, ..
    ----
    101 Keyboard Tips: Stuff All the Pros Know and Use‎ - Page 30

    Craig Weldon - Music - 2003 - 64 pages

    A suspended chord is one that sounds as though it needs to be resolved to
    something else. lf you play a passage that ends on a chord ...

    ----
    Last edited by Marius Hancu; 02-08-2010 at 01:25 AM.

  4. #4
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    Thanks. An interesting point from your posts.

    I wouldn't have considered the present subjunctive with the construction 'as though'--only the past subjunctive.





  5. #5
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    Another form that fits the style: The sentence feels too reduced, as though 'and' need be included.

    Now you can easily see why the subjunctive, in English, has all but fallen from regular use. It clutters up our discourse, being yet another mode; adds little that apt word order cannot arrange (deriving from the analytic nature of our syntax); and by virtue of today's meager, vestigial forms, has become a nuisance rather than an aid.

    My advice: learn to recognize subjunctive so that you are not surprised wherever it occurs (I think you may do that well, already), learn to apply it in the set of sentences where its formulaic use is expected, and otherwise ignore it. That, my friend, is exactly what I do, and what virtually every other fluent English speaker does.

  6. #6
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    Thanks,

    OT, I often read of the construction you put forth:

    "as though it need be included"


    Is it only with certain verbs that it can happen, since here is another instance with need:

    He needn't have concerned himself with sparing me the shock.

    I would have written like this:

    "He did not need to have concerned himself."

    But the former is far more elegant.


    Could you tell me how this construction is formed and when it is used please?

  7. #7
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    Such rules are difficult to find, and are sometimes only available in old grammars, see these:

    ---
    English grammar: made easy to the teacher and pupil‎ - Page 202

    John Comly - Language Arts & Disciplines - 1834 - 216 pages

    need not to solicit him to do a kind action.

    Not correct, because the verb ... which refers to present time, is in the imperfect tense of the subjunctive .
    ----

    The first lines of English grammar: being a brief abstract of the author's ...‎ - Page 95

    Goold Brown, Henry Kiddle - English language - 1879 - 122 pages

    They need not to call upon her. ... But. according to Rule 26th,


    ---

  8. #8
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    Other rules on need:

    ---
    A grammar of the English language: for the use of schools‎ - Page 75

    William Harvey Wells - English language - 1866 - 220 pages
    It need not surprise us." — J. G Lockhart. "It need scarcely be said. ...

    ---
    Last edited by Marius Hancu; 02-08-2010 at 01:38 PM.

  9. #9
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    Thanks. I'll have a read through and see if it makes sense to me.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eng123 View Post
    The sentence feels too reduced, as though it needs 'and' included.


    Does 'as though' require the subjunctive here--even though it does actually 'need' (not hypothetical)?


    Ta
    1. The sentence feels too reduced, as though it needs "and" included.
    2. The sentence feels too reduced, as though it needed "and" included.
    3. The sentence feels too reduced, as though it need "and" included.

    To me, #1 has an "immediate" air, and #2 a remoter air of hypothesis. #3 would startle me; I'm not sure what purpose the present subjunctive would serve.

    Best wishes,

    MrP

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