Conditional sentences - type II
if I were you

The subjunctive is not used very often in Modern English.

And sometimes it is not easy to spot the subjunctive in English sentences. Have a look at the following example:

If you were rich, where would you spend your holiday?

If you substitute you with I, he or she - then you see, that the subjunctive is used. In the subjunctive, there is no 3rd person -s in the singular.

If he were rich, where would he spend his holiday?

Use of the subjunctive

1) Fixed phrases

God save the Queen.

Peace be with you.

2) after special verbs which are used to express wishes and commands + that

The teacher insisted that he do the homework again.

3) after wish

I wish I were in ...

4) in conditional sentences type II

If I were you, I would phone her.


infinitive (every time regardless the subjec)

Special use of the verb to be:

Present Past

I be
you be
he, she, it be
we be
you be
they be

I were
you were
he, she, it were
we were
you were
they were


Affirmative sentences:

1) She insists that Jo be at the meeting.
2) She insisted that Jo be at the meeting.

Negative sentences:

1) She insists that Jo not be at the meeting.
2) She insisted that Jo not be at the meeting.

The first sentences (1) are in the present, the second sentences (2) are in the past. As you can see, the verb be is not changed.

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