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Working paper

The verbless subjunctive in Russian

The Russian subjunctive particle by can be used in constructions that lack any finite verb form, including constructions involving infinitives, predicative adverbs or adjectives, and nouns. The properties of these constructions are compared, and a conclusion is made that verbless subjunctives share a common semantic component, namely a wish or necessity. A survey of the development of subjunctive verbless constructions with predicative adverbs and adjectives shows that the evolution of the optative meaning took place during the last two centuries.