Hi: I have a question about the difference between indicative mood and subjunctive. As far as the verb form is concerned, is the sentence "If I died, he wouldn't cry" a statement of fact, or just an imagination of the speaker?
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Hello, paris—and welcome to English Forums.

If I died, he wouldn't cry.- This is a statement of future possibility. It is the speaker's opinion.
Hi there,thanks for the answer. But is it possible that the "died" might be the past form of subjunctive mood? As the equivalent expresstion of "if i were dead, he would'nt cry"
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No. The past form of conditional (which does not always involved subjunctive) is 'If I had died, he wouldn't have cried.'
Hi, Mister Micawber, thank you for the reply. Excuse me if I'm too demanding. Can we conclude this way: "If i died, he wouldn't cry" could be a statement of futur possiblity, in this case, "died" indicates subjunctive mood. (contrary to present fact) And the same sentence could also be a statement of the fact existed once in some past time. As if we can say "if I die, he will not cry", we should be allowed to interpret the sentence as its equivalent expression in past tense form. What's your opinion?
If I died, he wouldn't cry.

This can refer only to a future hypothetical event - 'I' am alive at the moment of making that utterance. When the verb BE is used in such sentences, as in If I were dead, he wouldn't cry, context will tell us if the speaker is referring to a present or future situation. Careful speakers use the subjunctive form were for all persons. Some people like to claim that the form used for all verbs is the past subjunctive, but, as this form is identical to the past indicative for all verbs except BE. I see little point in this.
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fivejedjonSome people like to claim that the form used for all verbs is the past subjunctive, but, as this form is identical to the past indicative for all verbs except BE. I see little point in this.
How do you feel about this statement?

Some people like to claim that all verbs have past participles, but, as this form is identical to the simple past for all verbs except about 65 irregular verbs, which is the vast minority of all verbs, I see little point in this.

Emotion: smile
CJ
CalifJimHow do you feel about this statement?Some people like to claim that all verbs have past participles, but, as this form is identical to the simple past for all verbs except about 100 irregular verbs, which is the vast minority of all verbs, I see little point in this.CJ
That is a totally different situation. The relatively small number of English verbs that have different forms for the past tense and past participles includes some of the most common verbs in the language. It seems to me therefore to be quite helpful to consider the identical forms of the past tense and past participles of the so-called 'regular' verbs as different things.

However, in the so-called 'second conditional' the only verb in the whole language that has a different form, and then only in the first and third person singular. is BE. To label this the 'subjunctive mood' form seems to me to be of little value. To use 'subjunctive' of any other verb is as pointless as claiming that 'Peter' is in the nomininative case in 'Peter' is here', the vocative case in 'Come here, Peter', the accusative case in 'I like' Peter, etc.

In earlier forms of English, and in many other Indo-European languages, there is a subjunctive mood. In modern British English there is not. Some speakers use the form 'were' instead of 'was', especially in the phrase 'If I were you', but 'was' is acceptable to most people today. The present subjunctive has virtually disappeared from the language except for a few fossilised expressions such as 'Long live the Queen'.

I am not alone in thinking this:

" […] especially in informal English. When we are talking about an unlikely situation, you use the simple past tense in the conditional clause, and ‘would’, ‘should’ or ‘might’ in the main clause. […]

I should be surprised if it was less than five pounds. […]

In the conditional clause, ‘were’ is sometimes used instead of ‘was’, especially after ‘I’.

If I were as big as you, I would kill you."

Sinclair, John (Editor-in-Chief), (1990) Collins Cobuild English Grammar, London: HarperCollins (my emphasis added)

"Traditionally, the uses of ordinary indicative tenses to express hypothesis etc […] have been described as examples of subjunctive mood or tense […] Modern grammar considers this to be quite unjustified, and restricts the use of the term subjunctive to two distinct tenses. […]

The so-called past subjunctive (also called the were-subjunctive) is used in clauses of hypothetical condition. It differs from the past indicative of be only in the first and third person singular, which popularly replace it. […]

If I were you, I’d own up. (If I was you …)"

Chalker, Sylvia and Weiner, Edmund (1993) The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar, 2nd edn, Oxford: OUP

"[…] the true subjunctive form is dead in English. It survives in a few main sentences of wish or desire like “God save the King” […] .
Were as the past singular subjunctive form has held out a little more tenaciously, partly because in the stereotyped phrase “If I were you” the complement you has by attraction tended to establish it […] In the following sentence, for example, our modern tendency would be to turn the subjunctive were into a blunt indicative:

It is high time the wide field of Tudor music, both secular and sacred, were explored by many more schools."

Vallins, G H, (1951) Good English, London: Pan

"The subjunctive mood is in its death throes, and the best thing to do is put it out of its misery as soon as possible."

Maugham, WS (1949) A Writer’s Notebook, Garden City, NY: Doubleday
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