Teaching the Subjunctive to ESL Students

If you mention teaching the subjunctive, most ESL teachers will try to change the subject. However, teaching the subjunctive is a lot easier than it seems at first glance.The subjunctive is unique because it does not have a past, present of future form, and it is neither singular nor plural.

It is always used to stress importance.

The subjunctive form of the verb is the root form:

esl curriculum

Here are some examples of the different tenses of “to move” used with the subjunctive:

Present Tense: The general orders that the men move forward.

Future Tense: Tomorrow the general will order that the men move forward.

Past Tense: Yesterday the general ordered that the men move forward.

 There are only a few verbs and expressions that must be followed by the subjunctive. Here are the common ones:esl curriculum

Notice that all of these expressions stress the importance of the verb.

 When used in the negative, simply add “not”:

The general ordered that the men not move forward.

 In the passive, use the root form of “be” + the past participle:

It was important that the men be moved forward.

With a little practice, students soon become good at using the subjunctive.

See Also:

ESL Grannar Practice Questions – Past Tense 2

About Daisy & George Stocker

Successful ESL was created out of our first company, Learning English With Laughter which began in 1990 when we, George and Daisy Stocker, traveled to the historic city of Karlovy Vary in Czechoslovakia, to teach English in a private language school. Communism was over and the people were embarking along the road to democracy. There were hundreds of students eager to learn the English Language, but suitable textbooks were non-existent. Consequently, we wrote as we taught, making countless revisions as we listened to the students' special needs. Upon returning to our home in Victoria, Canada, we have adapted the Teen-adult Series to meet the cultural needs of students in a number of different countries. A variety of adaptations have been achieved through contacts with many countries. Thousands of students have encouraged us to use a conversational approach to English that stresses communication in a variety of everyday situations. See our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Successful-ESL-Ltd/322661351104350
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