In formal English, should the subjunctive be used after that verb, as is the case with order, demand, request etc?
The sentence in question is: "Please ensure that the completed form is/(should)be/returned by Monday.."
Many thanks in advance!
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Semantico wrote on 17 Apr 2004:
In formal English, should the subjunctive be used after that verb, as is the case with order, demand, request etc? The sentence in question is: "Please ensure that the completed form is/(should)be/returned by Monday.."

"Please ensure that the completed form is returned by Monday" is correct.

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Semantico wrote on 17 Apr 2004:

In formal English, should the subjunctive be used after that ... is: "Please ensure that the completed form is/(should)be/returned by Monday.."

"Please ensure that the completed form is returned by Monday" is correct.

"Please ensure that the completed form be returned by Monday" doesn't sound ungrammatical to me (although the "is" version sounds better). Is it?

Mike Nitabach
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the editor/writer in me says, "Please ensure that the completed form be returned by Monday" could best be rephrased as:
"Please ensure the completed form is returned by Monday."

rbh martin
the editor/writer in me says, "Please ensure that the completed form be returned by Monday" could best be rephrased as: "Please ensure the completed form is returned by Monday."

I'm not sure if you are responding to my first post in this thread. I agree that the latter sounds better, but I am wondering whether the former is ungrammatical.

Mike Nitabach
the editor/writer in me says, "Please ensure that the completed ... as: "Please ensure the completed form is returned by Monday."

I'm not sure if you are responding to my first post in this thread. I agree that the latter sounds better, but I am wondering whether the former is ungrammatical.

I say it is ungrammatical. There may be some situations where "ensure" can make the s** seem okay, but this is not one of them, IMO.
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I am wondering whether the former is ungrammatical.

Situational aspects can affect "correctness."
In business writing, there are rules not always considered appropriate in journalism, for example. Fiction and other forms of more creative writing can be a free-for-all. There are movements to codify writing styles for use in specific situations E-Prime is an example, as is Information Mapping.

That said, I believe your sentence, "Please ensure that the completed form be returned by Monday" is technically a grammatically correct construction. But I would not say it is elegant or well composed. Others might disagree. I take a liberal stance with grammar; what works in one situation may not necessarily fit in another.
rbh martin
the editor/writer in me says, "Please ensure that the completed ... as: "Please ensure the completed form is returned by Monday."

I'm not sure if you are responding to my first post in this thread. I agree that the latter sounds better, but I am wondering whether the former is ungrammatical.

I understand your question, but I think it's unduly influenced by the modern Anmerican taste for unnecessary subjunctives. Having just moved house, I can't get at my older grammar books to see what they thought a hundred years ago; but I do know that late-Victorian British language experts regarded the English subjunctive as moribund and essentially superfluous.
They'd have accepted the case for "If the completed form be returned by Monday...", because hypothesis was involved; but I don't think they all liked it much. I reckon "Please ensure that the c. f. be returned by Monday" would have struck them as bizarre. I wonder if they'd have accepted "Please ensure that the c. f. has been returned by Monday"?

Mike.
That said, I believe your sentence, "Please ensure that the completed form be returned by Monday" is technically a grammatically correctconstruction.

I disagree. I do not believe that "ensure" takes the subjunctive. Whereas one might say "It is necessary that he be there," one would never say "Please ensure that he be there."
Adrian
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