Subjunctive mood Hi! My question is about this sentence: In my opinion, it is necessary that everyone have hobbies. Two people have corrected it, saying that it should be "everyone has". I know that normally you would use the third-person singular form but isn't it true that when we use the subjunctive the verb should be a bare infinitive? In addition, my teacher suggested that I write "everyone has a hobby" and she pointed out that it's always "to have a hobby". Was she right this time? Thank you in advance!
Feb 5, 2017 11:05 PM
Answers · 8
(I'm a native US speaker). I think you are right and your critics are wrong. "In my opinion, it is necessary that everyone have hobbies" is correct, natural, and well phrased. Applying strict logic, it means two or more hobbies per person, but I don't think it would really be understood that way. "In my opinion, it is necessary that everyone have a hobby" is correct, but I don't think it's any better than "everyone have hobbies." It is unambiguous: one hobby per person. "In my opinion, it is necessary that everyone has hobbies" is (in my opinion!) simply wrong. It is easy to sidestep the problem completely by using different wording; for example, "In my opinion, everyone needs a hobby."
February 6, 2017
Were those two people right to change 'have' to 'has'? No. You are right to use a subjunctive here - it should be 'have' rather than 'has'. You clearly have a better grasp of English grammar than the people who supposedly corrected your sentence. Even though your sentence is correct, it does sound rather awkward. Outside of formal contexts - such as legal English for contracts and so on - we generally avoid subjunctives if we can. A more natural phrasing would be 'Everyone needs to have hobbies'. Was your teacher right to change 'hobbies' to 'a hobby'? No. There's no reason to change the plural to singular. It's your opinion, and if you think that everyone should have several hobbies rather than just one, that's fine. Keep an eye on this teacher of yours - if she makes any more wrong or unnecessary 'corrections', it might be time to get a new teacher!
February 5, 2017
As a native speaker I would say "it is necessary that everyone have hobbies. ", is right. And yeas this is because of the subjective mood :)
February 5, 2017
The corrections you have received are totally correct. In order to keep proper agreement (Indefinite pronoun + sing verb), the 3rd. person singular form must be used. Search the web for "Indefinite pronoun agreement" and you should find lots of info about it. I don’t see why you mention subjunctive mood; there is no contrary-to-fact or wish mentioned in such sentence. Unless you meant to say: “I wish everyone had a hobby” in which case you would use the past participle form of the verb (have), and not its simple (bare) form. Other verbs you could use for “having a hobby” could be “get/pursue a hobby” Hope this helps!
February 5, 2017
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