Hello everyone!

Is it right for me to write meeting minutes in simple past tense? When I write, I always wonder which of the following patterns is correct or better. Most of the time I go with number 1, but I am never really sure if I am right, let alone the differences between them.

1. Mr Smith suggested that Peter send out the report by next Monday.
2. Mr Smith suggested that Peter sends out the report by next Monday.
3. Mr Smith suggested that Peter sent out the report by next Monday.
4. Mr Smith suggested that Peter should send out the report by next Monday.
5. Mr Smith suggested that Peter should have sent out the report by next Monday.
6. Mr Smith suggested that Peter ought to send out the report by next Monday.
7. Mr Smith suggested that Peter ought to have sent the report by next Monday.
Original Post
OK, Alex.

Sentences 1, 4, 5, and 6 are correct.

First, let’s note that ‘suggest’ is followed by a subjunctive verb, at least in the US The subjunctive form is the base form of the verb, that is, the verb itself without any –s, -ed, or –ing, or irregular form. With the base form, the idea is a suggestion for future action. This subjunctive form is usual in American English.

Another form of the verb to refer to future action after suggest is ‘should’ + the base form. Thus, sentence 4 is correct. It means the same as sentence 1. Sentence 6 with ‘ought to,’ which is the same as ‘should,’ is also correct, more so in British English than in American English.

In British English, too, the indicative 'sends' is sometimes used after 'suggest,' but rarely in American English.

Now, about sentences 3, 5, and7: Since the idea of the sentences is about making a suggestion, these sentences are not possible because the verb forms of the dependent clause refer to past events.

The Grammar Exchange has discussed the subjunctive after ‘suggest’ before. Please see this link, and click on the internal link, too, for an excellent explanation:

http://thegrammarexchange.info...701061844#9701061844
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I suggest that you write in your minutes:

  • Mr. Smith suggested that Peter send out the report by next Monday.

    That's if you are in the US. If you are in the UK, you might use send / sends / should send.
  • It is so called "mandative subjunctive" and the verbs like demand, suggest or ask etc. are called "subjunctive trigger."
    I understand this subjunctive mood is a legacy of Old English that still survives in Modern English.
    In the mandative subjunctive, the subordinate clause following the subjunctive trigger has no tense.
    So, the verb always takes a base form.
    But, in British English, they say "should + verb " instead of the base form of the verb.
    Grammarians don't consider "should + verb" is subjunctive, so they say "mandative subjunctive" disappeared in British English.
    But, it is said the usage revives in BE these days because of the influence of AE.
    As far as I know, grammarian don't explain that the base form implies the future action. In fact, it has nothing to do with tense.
    It only refers to certain necessity or justification regardless of time reference.
    It is a very difficult concept to understand.
    So, we simply remember the following rules.
    After a mandative trigger which is normally a main verb, "that clause" takes the following structure.
    (1) subject + base verb (AE)
    (2) subject + should + base verb (BE)

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