But had he known the horrible consequences of her tardiness, he would have insisted that she <were /be> here on time.
Considering it is a hypothetical, contrary-to-fact scenario, "were" should be uesed.
But I can also argue that since that-clause is governed by "insist" ,which usually take be-subjunctive, "be" Is required .
So how can I deal with it?
Hi, Robby zhu,
The counterfactuality only applies to the conditional sentence. Notice that, with a different verb of speech, you don't use "were" but "was":
- Had he known the horrible consequences of her tardiness, he would have said that she was expected to arrive on time.
"were" is used with the third person singular only in unreal past constructions with if, if only, I wish, I'd rather, it's high time, etc.
In this case, you need "be" because, as you said, it is so required by the presence of the verb "insist":
- But had he known the horrible consequences of her tardiness, he would have insisted that she be here on time.
There are some similar examples on the Internet, for instance:
- Had the game been played at Cambridge, I would have insisted that he be allowed to participate.