Sunday, November 11, 2012

Justin Bieber: If I Was Your Subjunctive Fail

Claryssa writes:
For extra credit, I am looking for examples of music lyrics that don't use the subjunctive when they should. I think Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend" is one. Am I right?
Yep. In fact, this is a stellar example of where the subjunctive should be used.

Where does the Biebs go wrong? His wishful, hypothetical statement requires a subjunctive verb.

Blech, the subjunctive. It's probably the most despised of all grammar subjects.

Now settle down, girls. Let's start by acknowledging that artistic license lets songwriters off the grammar hook and that the subjunctive can sound awkward and pretentious in casual conversation. But we're talking about good grammar versus faulty grammar, and you should be able to recognize the difference when you hear it.

Perhaps the best reason to learn the subjunctive is that it will definitely show up on the SAT and other tests. So let's take a few minutes to learn it.

Quick rules:
  • Use the subjunctive when conveying a wish or emphatic direction that's hypothetical or wishful, not definite.
  • In most cases, the subjunctive is the same as the bare infinitive.
  • The subjunctive is the same for every person/thing (I/you/he/she/it/we/they).

Correction: If I were your boyfriend, I'd never let you go.

The back story: The English language has three verb moods:
  • The indicative, for simple statements and questions: She presses the button. He listens to the teacher.
  • The imperative, for commands and directions: Press the button. Listen to the teacher.
  • The subjunctive, for events that we hope or require to happen: I insist that she press the button. I demand that he listen to the teacher.

The easiest way to get a feel for when you need the subjunctive is to look at the most common structures.

  • verbs that show wishfulness or desired action: wish, command, demand, insist, request, ask, recommend, propose, suggest
    I/he/she/we/they ________ that I/he/she/we/they _________.
    He demands that we are there on time.
    Correct: He demands that we be there on time.
  • certain "if" expressions that show desire: If only, as if
    ..... as if I/he/she/we/they __________ .
    He talked about Sarah as if she was stupid.
    Correct: He talked about Sarah as if she were stupid.
  • verb expressions that show emphasis or importance: "It is" + necessary, desirable, essential, important, vital, crucial
    It is ___________ that I/he/she/we/they ___________.
    Incorrect: It is important that you are there at 5pm sharp.
    Correct: It is important that you be there at 5pm sharp.

How to find the subjunctive:

  • In every case but one, the subjunctive verb is the same as the bare infinitive. Take the infinitive (to go, to do, to be, to work, etc.) and drop the 'to.' So if the infinitive is 'to have,' the subjunctive verb is simply 'have.' 
  • This works for every person (I/you/he/she/it/we/they), and in both the past and present tenses.
  • The exception: The subjunctive for the past tense of 'be' is 'were.'
    Incorrect: Her piano teacher insisted that she was on the stage before the show started.
    Correct: Her piano teacher insisted that she were on the stage before the show started.

More examples:

  • If only Jason were here, we would be able to start working on the project.
  • We should behave as if she were watching our every move.
  • It's as if I were running on a hamster wheel.
  • It's not as if she were always late.
  • He insists that you be here.
  • He recommends that she wait in the office.
  • I wish he were able to come to the game with us.
  • It is absolutely vital that he be on that bus at noon.


  1. "If I was to say to you / girl we couldn't get much higher / Come on baby light my fire." - The Doors

  2. Nice and informative Blog regarding Online Help Assignments this is really helpful for people who interested in Online Education. Thanks and Keep Continue to share useful information with us.

  3. I am a bieber fan. Thanks for posting about him here.

    1. I'm also a bieber fan go justin

  4. When looking for an English tutor, try Advance Tutoring School. They employ English specialists with significant understanding of the VCE curriculum. Read here for more details: English Tutor Melbourne.

  5. Thank you for posting such kind of topic. Subjunctive used to be utilized as a part of english more than it's today, and now it is utilized all the more habitually as a part of formal speech than in commonplace use. Marj of

  6. Many people have problems with English grammar, but it isn’t really as difficult as you might think, I assure....

    Grammar check

  7. guys learn online English grammar noun
    pronoun adjective verb adverb preposition and more definition and example if you want lean then click then link

  8. This article has some vast and valuable information about this subject.Grammarly review

  9. merupakan situs Agen Bola Terpercaya dan Taruhan Bola Online dimana anda bisa membuka acount betting dengan berbagai variasi permainan Judi Bola Online yang lengkap dan menarik dengan tingkat keamanan dan kenyamanan yang maksimal, pelayanan cepat dan memuaskan, serta bantuan costumer service yang selalu siaga 24 jam/hari melalui contact di bawah ini

    Contact Support
    BBM 753F938F
    YM agentaruhan1
    Telp/SMS +6288276816728

    Segera Kunjungi situs terbaik kami di

  10. I am very happy to see this website, the article is very satisfying for readers, thank you for the enlightenment that you have outlined in this article you can share..

  11. Thanks for sharing. I hope it will be helpful for too many people that are searching for this topic.
    Packers and Movers Hyderabad
    Packers and Movers Pune
    Packers and Movers Mumbai

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. merupakan Agen Bola, Judi Bola yang juga menyediakan permainan Agen Sbobet terlengkap dan telah di persiapkan secara profesional untuk anda penggemar Agen Bola dalam sebuah sebuah permainan yang nyaman dan menyenangkan

    Agen Sbobet

  14. Keep all these suggestions under consideration to have a pleasant moving encounter. In case, you are still struggling with the look stage, it is advised to our Bangalore moving organizations. Top Service 4U
    Packers and Movers Gurgaon
    Packers and Movers Bangalore
    Packers and Movers Mumbai
    Packers and Movers Pune
    Packers and Movers Hyderabad
    Packers and Movers Delhi
    Packers and Movers Chennai

  15. For Free Query Visit:-

    Packers and Movers Jaipur @
    Packers and Movers Meerut @
    Packers and Movers Mathura @
    Packers and Movers Agara @
    Packers and Movers Ghaziabad @

  16. Visit the Keywords:
    Packers and movers in Bangalore
    Packers and movers in Gurgaon
    Packers and movers in Delhi

    Packers and movers in Pune
    Packers and movers in Hyderabad
    Packers and movers in Mumbai

    Article Source:

  17. Packers and Movers in Bangalore @
    Packers and Movers in Noida @
    Packers and Movers in Ghaziabad @
    Packers and Movers in Chennai @

  18. Top Packers and Movers in Bangalore @
    Top Packers and Movers in Noida @
    Top Packers and Movers in Ghaziabad @
    Top Packers and Movers in Chennai @

  19. Packers and Movers in Faridabad @
    Packers and Movers in Pune @

  20. All the best blogs that is very useful for keeping me share the ideas
    of the future as well this is really what I was looking for, and I am
    very happy to come here. Thank you very much
    earn to die
    earn to die 2
    earn to die 3
    Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the
    earn to die 4
    courage to go ahead and give youu a shout out from
    earn to die 6
    Austin Texas! Just wanted to tell
    earn to die 5
    Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the
    happy wheels
    strike force heroes
    good game empire

  21. Hello Friends! I am Sabina Khan offering the extreme pleasure of Hyderabad escorts services from my hot, sensual and erotic body. I am well educated girl and serving my services to VIP gentle men with very positive attitude.

  22. Music has altered our way of communication and at times, students are not able to distinguish between slang and the correct use of language. Lit Review Writers. For instance, the 'beliebers', who are mostly high school and college students will easily get influenced by Justin Bieber's slang which they end up using in school. People who Rewrite Essays Cheaply

  23. Great Site. Lots Of Useful Information Here. I?m Sending It To Some Friends Ans Also Sharing In Delicious. And Of Course, Thanks For Your Sweat!
    agen bola terpercaya

  24. Good one! Thank you so much for sharing.

  25. If you are using packers and movers first grow olden it will subsequently you are in definitely vulnerable situation and decision making will be intensely cutting edge as whom to trust and whom not to. Make solution pile up some references and subsequently make a decision. If you have some associates, associates or your office connect who has moved in the in the back ask for that packer you ca easily house us in a matter where you complete not know all roughly the packers and movers and they increase you.

    Packers and Movers in Gurgaon
    Packers and Movers in Ghaziabad
    Packers and Movers in Faridabad
    Packers and Movers in Delhi

  26. While hiring a packer and mover in Delhi you should always understand the value of good and experienced customer support. This should be one of the most important criteria on which you should we evaluating a relocation service providers.

    Packers and Movers in Chandigarh
    Packers and Movers in Jaipur
    Packers and Movers in Noida

  27. Welocme to Chennai Escorts Angel are extremely active and each of the independent escort in Chennai. These female model are pure seductiveness and provide some of the most erotic offerings to each and every client they serve. Our Chennai Escorts Agency Links Partner-Delight Chennai Escorts Girls,Face Of Chennai Escorts,Chennai Escorts, Chennai Independent Escorts Services,High Heels Chennai escorts Contact Anytime 24/7.

  28. Are you ready romantic moments with a lot of fun and enjoyment Chennai Escorts Girl.

  29. Good look Chennai Escorts Service booking. You can pay genuine rates for independent escort service in Chennai.

  30. High profile Chennai escorts are intended to make your way of life more comfortable and exciting. This is a very amazing and cool Chennai Escorts Girls.

  31. If you want to contact more entertaining Chennai escorts service. Girlfriend experience Independent Chennai Escorts for VIP customers an it makes me different than any escorts in Chennai.

  32. All types of Chennai escorts with many different types of man. Recently taken and 100% genuine Chennai escorts service.

  33. Chennai escorts agency will provide you women like me who can play role like your girl friend, wife, friend.

  34. Destinations today are not just pages that advancement more about your business things and affiliations, it is unmitigated more than that. Powers need to give a trial to the customers that surface on their site and need to offer better regard. With PSD to WordPress by change you can obviously include all the all the more backing to your site, however just in case they are tuned into general coding measures. If your site has encountered PSD to WordPress change without general coding benchmarks it might be that a touch of the bits of the destinations won't be on edge about customers particularly makes.

    PDF to WordPress Conversion Service
    PNG to WordPress Conversion Service
    JPG to WordPress Conversion Service
    PSD to WordPress Conversion Service

  35. Good! thanks for share! my language is not good
    I'm working in the thay man hinh xiaomi. It's amazing

  36. Ikut nyimak gan, semoga suskes..

  37. Packers and movers Bangalore@
    Packers and movers Bangalore to Hyderabad@
    Packers and movers Bangalore to Pune @
    Packers and movers Bangalore to Mumbai @
    Packers and movers Bangalore to Kerala @
    Packers and movers Bangalore to Chennai @

    dhl cargo movers and packers
    Dhl movers and packers delhi
    Dhl Packers and movers pune

  39. VISIT Our Raipur Escorts Agency In Your City Click it:-

    we welcome you to the world of Raipur escorts models.

    VISIT Our LINK Raipur Escorts, escorts service in Raipur
    VISIT Our LINK female escorts in Raipur, Raipur independent escorts
    VISIT Our LINK Raipur independent escorts,Raipur Escorts
    VISIT Our LINK Raipur Escorts Service,Independent Escorts in Raipur

  40. I like this post!!!!!!!
    VISIT Our Coimbatore Escorts Service In Your City Click it:-

    VISIT WEB LINK Coimbatore Escorts, Escorts in Coimbatore
    VISIT WEB LINK Independent Coimbatore Escorts, Coimbatore Escorts Service

  41. the agency looks forward to hire only those females who are well-educated, confident, good-looking, well-trained and passionate towards their job. Our top class independent Escort Services Delhi < a herf="">independent Escort Services Delhi

  42. My name is megha and I may need to welcome to my Attractive and Hot pic site. Independent Coimbatore Escorts Coimbatore Escorts Service By using I am a model eye-catching Independent Girl. I am attractive and satisfied Escort eye-catching Independent Girl in Coimbatore. I am 100 % free hot Independent Girl. See more at:

  43. Coimbatore is one of the cities of Tamil Nadu. Coimbatore call girls are always ready to provide you intimate services that you will find more than Independent Coimbatore Escorts. Her involvement in your life as your temporary intimate companion will keep you satisfied until you meet the real one. Coimbatore Escorts Service. what you need to do is approach a beautiful and glamorous yet professional intimate companion with whom you can talk, share your feelings with and of course enjoy what you actually want from so hot and beautiful partner.See more at:

  44. The independent Hyderabad Escorts are also unmatched and more looked for their outstanding dating services. Whenever you feel lonely and weary just get in touch with the Hyderabad Escorts Service for the complete relaxation along with erotic pleasure in the company of the unavoidable call girls specialized in the stress busting profession.

  45. Excellent Travel Blog & very nice pics.. Thanks for all your effort marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back from now on. I want to encourage that you continue your great job, have a nice day.If you are interested, here is some for my information too open it Travel Agents in delhi