Introduction to Subjunctive Mood

1. As stated in the area giving a short definition of the subjunctive mood, the subjunctive indicates probability or objective possibility. The action of the verb will possibly happen, depending on certain objective factors or circumstances. It has a number of specific uses and is oftentimes used in conditional statements (i.e. 'If...then...' clauses) or in purpose clauses.

2. However, if the subjunctive mood was used in isolation it may be accurate to merely call it the mood of probability, but this is an overly simplistic view when you look at how it is used in the NT.  As seen by the classification of its uses (below), it is almost never used in making a kind of objective statement that something will possibly happen.  It must be seen in context to understand how it used.

3. As far as the tense of the verb in the subjunctive mood, it should be remembered that the subjunctive only shows the kind of action (verbal aspect or ‘aktionsart’) and not time. Only verbs in the indicative mood indicate time in an absolute sense. (See intermediate discussion of verb tenses).  However, the ‘time’ implied by the subjunctive is usually future since it is a mood of contingency. Thus the future indicative and the aorist subjunctive are closely related and sometimes used in substitution for each other.

4. The subjunctive mood is used in both independent (main) and depended (subordinate) clauses. That is, it can be used as the main verb that makes up a sentence, or may be used in a subordinate clause that is dependent upon another clause to make up a complete sentence. The following explanations are divided into these two broad categories of classification.

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