For those of you who speak one of the romantic languages, you might be familiar with the term "Subjunctive." For the English only speakers out there, the subjunctive is a verb mood used to express moods, wishes, possibilities, and a host of other subjects relating to emotions. Many of English's sister languages like French, Spanish, and Italian have the subjunctive, and while English technically has a subjunctive, it's less prominent than in other romantic languages. Here are four reasons why English could benefit from the subjunctive.
1. Emotional expression: As English speakers, we are a quite dull set of people. We only need to look at foreign language films to realize the speakers of our sister languages are more passionate about their speech. Well, a primary use for subjunctive in a language is the expression of emotion. Wouldn't it be wonderful to tell a person's emotion by the type of verbs they use? Wouldn't it be wonderful to spice up your vocabulary by adding in a bit of passion when you make a request?
2. Dropping hints: How many times have you tried to subtly suggest someone purchase a gift? Or drop a hint to a significant other about a particular date night. Since the subjunctive expresses desires, terms like "I wish," or "I strive," maybe even, "It'd be wonderful," would require a different verb form. That means no more grey areas or mixed messages.
3. Adding spice: Let's face it, English can be a dull language when compared to French or Spanish. With the subjunctive, we could spice up our sentences by adding certain key phrases to trigger use of the subjunctive mood. For example, in French one might say il est évident qui'il m'aime.Translation, it's obvious he loves me. That has more flavor than just saying, he loves me. If the use of the subjunctive in English were more prominent, it would go a long way to improving the average English speakers vocabulary.
4. Learning a foreign language would be simpler: Anyone who's taken a university, or high school foreign languages course knows learning a new language is an uphill battle. Not only do you need to learn new grammatical concepts, but also vocabulary and pronunciation. If English had a defined subjunctive mood, it might go a long way in helping students understand concepts in other foreign languages.
At the end of the day, languages are fluidly evolving things, and while we might not be able to revive or deepen the English subjunctive mood, we could all make an effort to use the subjunctive by learning new languages. Exploring new horizons, discovering new ways to convey our emotions, and deepening our understanding of other cultures would go along way in helping us all.