Buck's English: Subjunctive mood may be past its time

Gene Owens: Maybe it's past time that English speakers stop using the subjunctive mood. Few people know what it is, and even fewer know when to use it.
BY GENE OWENS, For The Oklahoman Published: December 18, 2012
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The present subjunctive calls for the bare infinitive form of the verb. English speakers are used to seeing their infinitives with “to” in front of them. The bare infinitive — without the “to” — looks too much like a present-tense verb. So Buck might have given the sentence a more natural sound by writing: “It is long past time for the government to stop subsidizing people ...” Now there's no mistaking the fact that “to stop” is an infinitive, and infinitives do not have tense.

“It's high time you stop drinking,” said the Rev. T. Jubilee Beanblossom.

“I stop drinking every night when the Red Eye Saloon closes,” said Luther.

Send questions for Buck to BucksEnglish@AOL.com. Please let Buck know what town you're from.