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Notice the verbs and adjectives below.

Advise / ask / demand / insist / prefer / propose / recommend / request / suggest / urge
It is best / crucial / desirable / essential / imperative / important / recommended / urgent / vital / necessary (that)

An American woman in her forties visits her elderly mother’s doctor for advice about dealing with her mother’s
problems and demands. Here is their conversation:
Woman: I’m at my wit’s end. Mom is driving me crazy. She ________________ I come over and help her at a moment’s
notice. She says she’s not getting enough exercise, but when I ________________ she go out with me and take a walk,
she gets angry. She’s been living in her own house since Dad died, and it’s gotten to be too much for her. Actually,
I think she should sell that house. Had I known how things were going to turn out, I would have recommended she
_______________ it a long time ago. I don’t know what to do. It almost seems as if she’s become the child and I’ve
become the parent. You’ve known her for a long time. What would you __________________________?
Doctor: Well, what if she moved in with you and your husband? Would that work?
Woman: I don’t think so. I love her dearly, but my husband and I have our life too. She’s always said
___________________________ for her to keep her independence. But what other options are there? What would be best
for her? I’d rather she ___________ _________ into a nursing home. I’ve heard some pretty bad things about them.
Doctor: Well, there are good nursing homes and bad ones, but she’s still quite healthy and doesn’t need to go into
one. My impression is that she’s pretty social. If so, I’d say she needs a situation where she can have contact with
people her own age.
Woman: Yes. She’s always complaining about how lonely she is. I know it’s important __________ _________ __________
friends, but she can’t get out and make them on her own, and I can’t do it for her.
Doctor: Then I’d propose ____________ _____________ a retirement center or an assisted living center. Otherwise, the
problem will just get worse.
Woman: What’s the difference between the two?
Doctor: Retirement centers are for people who are still active and can basically _____________ ____________ of
themselves. They provide a lot of social activities, along with meals and other benefits. Assisted living is for people
who can still function to some degree but need assistance with movement, taking medications, and the like.
Actually, some facilities are both retirement center and assisted living center. I know of several good ones. I’d
______________________ you ____________ __________ them.
Woman: Aren’t those places pretty expensive?
Doctor: Yes, they are, but sometimes they’re the best alternative.

AFTER YOU READ. Look at each pair of sentences. Does the second sentence mean about the same as the first?
Circle Y (yes) or N (no).
1. When I suggest she go out with me and take a walk, she gets angry.
- When I suggest that we go out and take a walk, she gets angry. Y N
2. What if she moved in with you and your husband?
- What happened when she moved in with you and your husband? Y N
3. I know it’s important that she have friends.
- I know it’s important for her to have friends. Y N
4. Then I’d propose you find a retirement center or an assisted living center,
otherwise, the problem will just get worse.
- If you do, the problem will just get worse. Y N

The subjunctive is a special verb form in English used to express something desired or imagine.
The form is the infinitive without “to” and it is used after certain verbs and expressions.

After the following verbs of suggestion or advice: I recommend that he come early tonight.
Ask (that), command (that), demand (that), insist (that), I suggest that you not try that particular job.
propose (that), recommend (that), request (that), etc. I insist that she stay another night.
In a that-clause after the following adjectives of It’s better he leave before noon.
importance: It’s best (that), it’s crucial (that), it’s It’s crucial we find a good mechanic.
desirable (that), it’s essential (that), it’s important (that), It’s important they meet us at the airport.
it’s necessary (that), it’s a good idea (that), etc.

Complete the sentences with the present subjunctive.

Be dress drive feed fire

Go pay speak stay watch

1. It’s important that she ________________ the dog every day.

2. I insist you ________________ on time for the meeting.
3. It’s essential that he ______________ carefully. The roads here are quite dangerous.
4. It’s a bad idea that she ______________ television every night.
5. All I ask is that he ________________ a bit more slowly so that I can understand him.
6. It’s recommended that he _______________ smart for the job interview.
7. I suggest she _______________ shopping at the market because the food is fresher.
8. It’s better he _______________ the night because it’s too late to go home.
9. The captain demanded the soldier _______________ his gun.
10. It’s necessary he _______________ in cash only.


Your friend’s sister is coming to visit your city and your friend asks for your advice. Complete the
sentences with your own ideas using the subjunctive or “should + bare infinitive”

1. It can get very cold in the evenings. It’s a good idea that your sister …
2. The restaurants are very expensive here. I recommend she …
3. There are a few dangerous museums. I suggest she …
4. There are lots of interesting museums. I suggest she …
5. The hotels are quite expensive. I recommend she …
6. Not many people speak English here. It’s important that she …
7. The local ice-cream is fantastic. I insist she …
8. People prefer cash here, so it’s necessary that she …
9. The tap water is not suitable for drinking. It’s better that she …
10. The nightlife is excellent. I recommend she …
DECISIONS. Match the questions on the left with the correct responses on the right. Then complete the responses
using the subjunctive forms of the verbs in the box.


1. What did the doctor say about Mom? A. Yes, if you insist ________________________ it, he’ll go
along with the plan.
2. Where does he think she should go? B. He’ll demand ___________________________ all of his
cooking and laundry – at his house.