Dear VOA Listener:
Thanks for your question. You asked which should be the correct choice in the answer: Do you like your new job? - Yes, but my employer insisted that I A. was; B. am; C. have been; D. be on time.
The correct choice is D.
The reason is the sentence expresses a desirable situation in the future (Your employer wishes that you be on time) and therfore is followed by the subjunctive.
The subjunctive form is like the infinitive form without to; that is in the 3rd singular person, it does not take an 's' or 'es'.
Ex: The teacher insisted that he be moved to another classroom.
A number of verbs expressing “unreal situations”--things that are possible, imaginary, desirable, or should happen in the future--are followed by the SUBJUNCTIVE (that is like the infinitive form without to; the 3rd person singular does not take an s or es).
These verbs are: suggest, recommend, ask, insist (đòi, khăng khăng, nài nỉ)…; it is essential that; it is vital that…; it is important that… (điều quan trọng là…)
It is essential that every child have the same educational opportunities.
(Ðiều cần là mỗi em học sinh điều có cơ hội giáo dục như nhau.)
It was important that your husband contact his doctor immediately.
(Ðiều quan trọng là ông nhà phải liên lạc với bác sĩ của ông ngay.)
We feel it desirable that he not leave school before eighteen.
(Chúng tôi mong muốn là em không nên bỏ học trước khi em được 18 tuổi.)
Seeing that her husband was drunk, she insisted that she drive him home.
(Thấy chồng bà say, bà đòi lái xe đưa ông về nhà.)
"Mike insisted that he was right" = Mike strongly believed that he was right. This sentence does not express a desirable situation, so it is not used in the subjunctive.
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