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Hi, please consider the sentence beginning with, "Ideally one would like to ensure that ... "

Do verbs following this phrase call for the subjunctive or the indicative mood?

"Ideally one would like to ensure that he be on time"? (mandative subjunctive)
"Ideally one would like to ensure that he is on time"? (indicative)

Or is this like a type-II conditional (hypothetical case) that should be written:

"Ideally one would like to ensure that he would be on time"

Thanks for your thoughts!
New Member02
I think that either "be" or "is" is acceptable. "would be" sounds strange.
Full Member346
CubeyHi, please consider the sentence beginning with, "Ideally one would like to ensure that ... "

Do verbs following this phrase call for the subjunctive or the indicative mood?

"Ideally one would like to ensure that he be on time"? (mandative subjunctive)
"Ideally one would like to ensure that he is on time"? (indicative)

Or is this like a type-II conditional (hypothetical case) that should be written:

"Ideally one would like to ensure that he would be on time"

Thanks for your thoughts!
Avoid be in this context. You have "ensure" and it is not a place for subjunctive in any language I know, including English.

Ideally one would like to suggest that he be on time. could be acceptable, though, but then ideally is nonsensical.

  • Ideally one would like to ensure he/him being on time.
  • Ideally one would like to ensure he/him to be on time.
  • Ideally one would like to ensure that he is on time.
  • Ideally one would like to ensure that he was on time.
  • Ideally one would like to ensure that he had been on time.
  • Ideally one would like to ensure that he is going to be on time.


  • "Ideally one would like to ensure that he would be on time" not what you wanted = Ideally one would like to ensure that he has a desire or will to be on time or Ideally one would like to ensure that he could be on time but he couldn't

    would be suggests impossibility or maybe everything is shifted to past from "Ideally one will like to ensure that he will be on time" but that is unlikely because of will that is doubled, it is difficult to catch the meaning.
Full Member409
AlienvoordI think that either "be" or "is" is acceptable. "would be" sounds strange.
I agree with you. Moreover, I would not use he:
"Ideally one would like to ensure that one is on time?"

Cheers
CB
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I would not use he: "Ideally one would like to ensure that one is on time?"
I don't think there's any requirement for the two subjects to be coreferential. he should be all right. I've been reading it as non-coreferential all the while. I wonder if the original poster had that reading in mind.

CJ
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The subjunctive be is OK in this context. However, I've got only one hit at the New York Times:

Lawyer Says Military Tried To Coerce Detainee's Plea

... filed motions to ensure that he be entitled to represent Mr. Hamdan ...

which seems to take place in a legal, thus very formal, context.

----------------

The indicative alternative is more popular:

  • Cuba Perks Up as Venezuela's Lifeline Foils U.S. Embargo

    ... to trying to ensure that he is not replaced by his brother ...

    August 4, 2006 - By JUAN FORERO; An employee of The New York Times who could not be named for security reasons contributed reporting from Havana for this article. (NYT) - World - News - 1503 words
  • World Briefing | Europe: Italy: Pope May Return To Hospital

    ... feeding tube to ensure that he is properly nourished. The Apcom ...

    March 30, 2005 - By Ian Fisher (NYT) - World - News - 117 words
  • Question Time: What to Ask John Kerry; Spread Democracy

    ... would you also ensure that he is no longer a party to ...

    September 30, 2004 - By Victor Davis Hanson (NYT) - Opinion - Op-Ed - 241 words
  • TEST DRIVE; For Some, the Perfect Fit Means Many

    ... agencies. To ensure that he is always available, he uses ...

    May 4, 2004 - By ERIC A. TAUB (NYT) - Technology - News - 419 words
  • After Spree, Questions Over an Offender's Past

    ... the law to ensure that he is severely punished.'' ...

    January 24, 2004 - By MICHAEL BRICK (NYT) - New York and Region - News - 818 words
  • THE STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ: BAGHDAD; Former Iraqi Defense Minister Turns Himself In to American General

    ... -- and to ensure that he is treated well. Today in ...View free preview

    September 20, 2003 - By IAN FISHER (NYT) - World - News - 949 words
  • Veteran Member11,673
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    CalifJim
    I would not use he: "Ideally one would like to ensure that one is on time?"
    I don't think there's any requirement for the two subjects to be coreferential. he should be all right. I've been reading it as non-coreferential all the while. I wonder if the original poster had that reading in mind.

    CJ
    Hi CJ

    This is probably of little consequence in a world where volcanoes erupt and kingdoms fall, but I don't consider he wrong, either. I would just prefer not to use it.Emotion: smile
    I don't always have a lot of time when writing my posts and thus I tend to be brief and expect people to read between the lines. Of course I shouldn't do that. My fault.

    Cheers
    CB
    Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Trusted Users: Trusted users are allowed to use additional capabilities of the site such as private messaging to all users and various other advanced features. You cannot join this role unless you are promoted by an administrator.
    in a world where volcanoes erupt
    Oh, no! Is that the kind of world we live in?
    I must tune in to the evening news more often!
    I hope there's not one erupting near me! Emotion: smile

    prefer not to use it [he]

    But wouldn't you have to use it if it referred to someone other than the impersonal one? I was thinking of a boss and his assistant trying to do something to encourage a certain male employee to be on time. The boss might say to his assistant, Ideally one would like to ensure that he is on time. How can you prefer not to use he in that sentence?
    (I think you are still considering this as a case where both subjects are the same person, even with one and he, and saying you prefer one and one in that case. Am I right?)

    Sorry if I seem to be harping on trivialities.

    CJ
    Moderator: A super-user who takes care of the forums. You have the ability to message a moderator privately should you wish. These users have a range of elevated privileges including the deletion, editing and movement of posts when needed.Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
    CalifJim
    in a world where volcanoes erupt
    Oh, no! Is that the kind of world we live in?
    I must tune in to the evening news more often!
    I hope there's not one erupting near me! Emotion: smile

    prefer not to use it [he]

    But wouldn't you have to use it if it referred to someone other than the impersonal one? I was thinking of a boss and his assistant trying to do something to encourage a certain male employee to be on time. The boss might say to his assistant, Ideally one would like to ensure that he is on time. How can you prefer not to use he in that sentence?
    (I think you are still considering this as a case where both subjects are the same person, even with one and he, and saying you prefer one and one in that case. Am I right?)

    Sorry if I seem to be harping on trivialities.

    CJ
    Hi CJ

    Yes, you are absolutely right. The situation you described didn't cross my mind. (At my age few things do, anyway.)

    Cheers
    CB
    Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.Trusted Users: Trusted users are allowed to use additional capabilities of the site such as private messaging to all users and various other advanced features. You cannot join this role unless you are promoted by an administrator.
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