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1. He could go if he wished. (Possibility.)
2. The boys insist that Miss Davis lead (or, shall lead) them. (The subjunctive mood lead (or, shall lead) shows that the action of leading is the will, or volition, of the boys.)
3. Somebody run for help. (Volition, command. Somebody is in the third person; for the second person, see § 164.)
Everybody rise and sing. Deny it who can.
4. Heaven bless you for your kindness. (Wish.) So help me Heaven.
I wish that she were here.
5. Be that as it may. (Possibility, concession.) 6. Come what may; come weal, come woe.
7. We should speak the truth. (Obligation, propriety.)
8. You had better go. (See § 244.)
NOTE. In verbs of blessing and cursing, when used in the subjunctive of wish, the subject (God, Heaven, or the like) is commonly omitted to avoid using a name of the Deity:
1. "Bless my life", said Mr. Pecksniff, looking up.
2. Well, hang it all, I've done more than old J., anyhow.
163. Subjunctive of softened statement. For the sake of politeness, modesty, or caution, the subjunctive is often used to soften a statement or question:
1. I think so.
2. Can she go tomorrow? 3. It is your duty to go.
4. He wants you to stay. 5. Is it your wish to go? 6. This seems to be true.
I should think so.
He would like to have you stay.
NOTE. It should seem (= it would naturally seem), an old and somewhat archaic form, is used in guarded statements: It should seem that the ancients thought in this way.
164. Imperative mood. The imperative mood is used, in the second person, to express a command, request, or entreaty; the subject (thou, ye, you), unless emphatic, is omitted:
1. (You) Go to your homes. (Compare § 162, 3.)
2. (You) Tell me a good story. Do not (you) leave me alone.
165. Infinitive. The infinitive is a verbal noun (§ 215), usually with the preposition to before it (§§ 282, 614, 616); when required by clearness or emphasis, to should be used before each infinitive in a series:
1. To cross was dangerous. (Subject of was.)
- THE BIBLE.
2. He wished to cross the river. (Object of wished.) 3. Suffer me first to go and bury my father. 4. He instantly began to collect provisions, to throw up works, and to make preparations for sustaining a siege. MACAULAY.
5. They instantly begin to collect provisions, to throw up works, and to make, etc. (If to were not repeated, the infinitives might be mistaken for indicatives, coördinate with begin.)
166. Participle. The participle is a verbal adjective (§ 230): A barking dog; an educated man.
167. Tense. The verb has different forms (called tenses) to indicate the time of its action or state (see §§ 623–653):
3. She will write a letter. (Future tense.)
NOTE. Care should be taken not to use the past tense for the present perfect (§§ 623-652); an action or state begun in the past, but completed at the time of speaking, is expressed by the present perfect:
1. I never saw him when I lived in Boston. (The past tense saw is correct here, because the modifying clause when I lived in Boston refers to a period of time now past.)
2. I have never seen him. (Not 'I never saw him ', because the word never, used without some other modifier, includes all my life at the time of speaking.)
3. They are now paid the highest wages they have ever received. 4. Many of those men (now dead) never had an education.
Many of these men (still living) have never had, etc. (Exercise XVII, § 562.)
168. Person; number. The verb, like the personal pronoun, has person and number (§§ 58, 59). The verb agrees with its subject in person and number (§ 196):
1. Thou hast done well.
2. The boy sleeps; the children sleep.
NOTE. When pronouns of different persons are joined, the verb is put in the first person instead of the second or the third, and in the second person instead of the third. See § 179.
169. Regular; irregular. A verb is called regular or irregular according to the formation of its past tense. If the past tense is formed by adding d or ed to the present, the verb is regular; otherwise it is called irregular:
1. Live, lived; play, played; walk, walked. (Regular.) 2. Fall, fell; give, gave; lay, laid; lie, lay. (Irregular.)
170. Principal parts. By knowing certain forms of a verb, called its principal parts, we are able to give all its forms, or conjugate it. The principal parts of a verb are the present indicative (first person singular), the past indicative (first person singular), and the past participle. The past participle of a regular verb is like its past indicative (§ 169). The past participle of an irregular verb is irregular, and must be learned (§ 654). The following are examples of the principal parts:
171. Conjugation. The conjugation of the regular verb call will be found in §§ 635-640; of the irregular verb know, in §§ 641-646.
172. Irregular verbs. The principal parts of irregular verbs are given in § 654. The easiest and best way to learn the parts is to read them aloud in simple sentences; put have or had before the past participle, and pay particular attention to the confusing and difficult forms; read aloud the following examples (see § 361):
I began (not 'begun ')
I have been
I have beaten (not 'beat')
I have begun
I have broken (not 'broke')
I brought (not 'brung') I have brought (not ' brung')
I came (not come ')
I gave (not 'give')
I knew (not knowed')
I lay (not 'laid')
I rang (not 'rung')
I saw (not 'seen')
I throw I threw (not 'throwed') I have thrown (not 'throwed')
173. Lay, lie; set, sit. Distinguish lay from lie, and set from sit (see sit, § 417):
1. I lie down, I am lying down, I lay down, I was lying down, I had lain down, I had been lying down; I lay (am laying) the clothes away, I laid (was laying) the clothes away, I had laid (had been laying) the clothes away.
2. I sit (am sitting), I sat (was sitting), I had sat (had been sitting); I set (am setting) the clock, I set (had set, had been setting) the clock, she set the hen, the stars set (are setting, were setting; this is a reflexive use of set, the object, themselves, being omitted); the hen sits (not 'sets'), a sitting hen, the coat sits well, this food does not sit well on the stomach.
174. Emphatic phrases with do. In the present and the past tense the verb do is used with the infinitive (without to) to make emphatic verb phrases:
sentences, and often in the emphatic (in modern poetry
In negative and interrogative Bible and in poetry, do is not unemphatic do is avoided by good writers):
1. Tom does not play. Does Mary play?
2. I did mourn as a dove. THE BIBLE.
NOTE. Do is often used to avoid the repetition of another verb; but, especially in formal writing, it is better to repeat the verb:
1. She sings better than he does (= than he sings).
175. Progressive verb phrases. Some verb phrases, called progressive, denote an action or state not simply as occurring, but as continuing, and are used in picturing scenes and events. They are formed by using the auxiliary verb be with the present participle (the simple form of a verb with the ending ing; § 230):