Funny how a talk about grammar inspired me as I navigated the complexities of changing travel plans during the polar vortex. Phuc Tran educated me on the dark side of subjunctives (as an engineering student this was not included in my curriculum!).
Do you know about subjunctive moods? In English they are used to describe things that are not facts. Subjunctives are things like “I should’ve …”, “I would like too…”. Other languages, Vietnamese for example, don’t use this mood they just express facts. Phuc describes subjunctives as a time-space dream machine expressing hope and regret.
As I second-guessed my travel decisions I wasted time and energy. While subjunctive moods help to plan dreams and learn reflectively…getting bogged down in them is a waste.
Interesting to note, Phuc referred to a 2011 study by Gallup determined:
The most optimistic country: Vietnam (language without subjunctives).
The most pessimistic country: France (language with many subjunctives).
Want to be happy? Skip the subjunctives!
I recommend his talk it is entertaining and thought provoking.