The Subjunctive "Form" of "To Fart"
Question:  One writer e-mails the following question: 

"What is the proper conjugation of the subjunctive tense of 'Fart'?  Please answer this, as I am unable to sleep over it." 

(signed) Phonetically Phlatulant Phellow 

An impressive use of alliteration (the matching of the sounds of word beginnings (the "f" sounds in his name signature)).  And, a fun question!  I hope the answer doesn't -- well -- stink! 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Back to Guru 
Answer:  It's important to note that the "subjunctive" is not a verb tense:  it is a verb "mood."   Hence, we call it the "subjunctive mood".  (Another more well-known verb "mood" is the imperative mood.  This mood is used to create a feeling of directness:  "Look at this mess!")  The subjunctive mood ironically is used in more FORMAL settings -- in particular diplomatic statements.  (So, my friend, if you are planning on presenting a bill on "farting" (a clean air act?!) THIS is your mood!)  Probably the most important rule to remember is the following: 

(1)  The subjunctive form of "be" in the present tense is always "be", and the past tense is always "were", regardless of the subject. 

Example:  "If she be farting...than I am a liar." 
                "If they be farting...than I am a liar" 
                 "If she were farting..." 

Note the formal sound, and the questionable nature of the statement.  The subjunctive form is a polite way of casting doubt on a situation. 

So, my Phlatulant Phriend, there is more to know about this mood, but I think you GASP, I mean, GRASP the situation. 

Thanks again! 

The Guru 

Sources:  Houghton Miflin, English, Grade 12. 
 

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