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  • Writer's picturePaul Nicholsen

Mastering the Subjunctive

Are you feeling the pressure of preparing for the SAT? Don't you worry, because today we're diving into a grammar point that might just give you the edge you need in the Writing and Language section. And trust me, this one is a piece of cake once you get the hang of it! ๐Ÿฐ


Subjunctive Mood: The Magical "If" World


Alright, let's talk about the subjunctive mood. Wait, don't zone out just yet! This might sound fancy, but it's actually a cool trick to have up your sleeve when tackling those SAT sentence improvement questions.


So, what's the deal with the subjunctive mood? It's like a secret grammar code we use to talk about hypotheticals, wishes, doubts, and things that are contrary to reality. Think of it as the "what if" realm of grammar.


Here's the juicy part: the subjunctive mood often sneaks into sentences after certain trigger words, and the big kahuna among them is "if." Whenever you're imagining something that isn't true or isn't certain, the subjunctive mood pops its head up.

For instance:

  • Correct: If I were a superhero, I would fly around the world.

  • Incorrect: If I was a superhero, I would fly around the world.

Did you catch that? It's "If I were," not "If I was." This is where the subjunctive mood does its little dance. When you're conjuring up a scenario that's not real (like being a superhero when you're really not), you use "were" instead of "was." Sneaky, right?


Here's another trick to have in your pocket:

  • Correct: She requested that he bring his A-game to the party.

  • Incorrect: She requested that he brings his A-game to the party.

Notice how it's "that he bring," not "that he brings." Whenever you're asking for something unlikely or wishing for something to happen, the subjunctive mood says "Hey, let's drop that -s from the verb!"


Remember, this isn't about what's actually happening; it's about what could happen or what you want to happen. The subjunctive mood takes you into the realm of imagination and possibility.


So, the next time you encounter an "if" or a trigger word in a sentence on the SAT, give it a little subjunctive nod. Your sentence will instantly sound more sophisticated and, most importantly, more accurate.


Keep practicing this nifty trick, and you'll be well on your way to conquering the Writing and Language section of the SAT. Now go forth, high school grammar gurus, and slay those sentence improvement questions! ๐Ÿš€๐Ÿ“š If I were a betting person (see what I did there?), I'd bet you'll rock it! ๐ŸŽ‰

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