He added: “As overseas travel restrictions are progressively eased and more activities resume, it has become even more critical that each of us plays our part to exercise social responsibility and adhere to the safe management measures, in order to keep our family and friends safe.”
Is “each of us plays our part” correct?
Since it’s a subjunctive clause it should be ‘each of us play’, especially since the second part apparently is in the subjunctive form (‘and adhere’).
Hi Torsten, I completely agree, but as you know in BrE the subjunctive is often replaced by ‘should’. So …it has become even more critical that each of us should play our part…
To start with I’d change the other verb to ‘adhereS’. And I can’t understand the reference to subjunctive. Why?
Yes, you are right. And I agree with Alan. We need to be consistent.
Because we use the subjunctive to emphasise urgency or importance.
That’s a new one on me! A sentence like - It is important/essential that a child understands the need to wash their hands - is fine. Making it subjunctive loses the validity of the statement
A further comment - by making that a subjunctive it becomes wishful thinking.
Well, what about this?
Expressions Followed by the Subjunctive
The Subjunctive is used after the following expressions:
It is best (that)
It is crucial (that)
It is desirable (that)
It is essential (that)
It is imperative (that)
It is important (that)
It is recommended (that)
It is urgent (that)
It is vital (that)
It is a good idea (that)
It is a bad idea (that)
- It is crucial that you be there before Tom arrives.
- It is important she attend the meeting.
I think tha these examples are too restrictive. For me there has to be an element of uncertainty as to whether the action is real or that there is an element of command. It is a very subtle distinction.
Further comment - a more common expression is with the use of the infinitive as in - It is important for him to attend the meeting rather than - Itis important that he attend the meeting. My point is - Is he to attend or not?
Torsten has a good point there too, Alan. As Swan says that in a sentence like yours a subjunctive may be used in American English.
Actually, I was not aware that this use of the subjunctive is classified as ‘American English’. I don’t like distinguishing between ‘American English’ and ‘British English’ because it causes a lot of headaches.
I was aware of it. But you are right, although it doesn’t cause headaches, it causes excruciating headaches.