The Troublesome Subjunctive: An Examination of the Frequent Mistakes Made in Tense Conjugation

Anišić, Đurđica and Brala, Maša (2011) The Troublesome Subjunctive: An Examination of the Frequent Mistakes Made in Tense Conjugation. In: 1st International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (FLTAL’11), 5-7 May 2011, Sarajevo.

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Why do some English grammar issues pose problems to otherwise fully competent and fluent students in Croatia? From our experience, reported speech and conditional sentences rank high on the list of such issues. The aim of this paper is to explore some problems Croatian students have with the concept of the subjunctive and its application in conditional sentences. The key problems for Croatian students in forming conditional sentences derive from their inherent desire to translate Croatian to English directly, which does not address the changing tense of the verb in the conditional clause. For example, the sentence, ―If I were rich, I would travel the world‖ would translate into Croatian, ―If I am rich, I would travel the world.‖ In general, the concept of using a verb in the past tense to express a present or future desire is simply alien to native Slavic language speakers. Examples of common errors in the translation of conditional sentences type 2 and 3 from Croatian to English and vice versa are presented in the paper followed by some suggestions of how to help students master the concept of the subjunctive and successfully apply it in conditional sentences.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: English grammar, conditional sentences, subjunctive, Croatian to English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Depositing User: Users 3 not found.
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2012 10:58
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2012 13:48

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