English grammar

Module 3, Verbs, Lesson 12:

Moods of Verbs

English grammar

Moods are as important in writing as they are in our lives. The mood of a sentence is expressed by the verb.

Mood is how the speaker feels about what is being written or the way the thought is being expressed. The most commonly discussed moods are indicative, imperative, and subjunctive.

Indicative mood is fact mood. It states, or indicates, a fact, asks a fact, or denies a fact.

Rain is falling. Is rain falling? Rain is not falling.

It can also state an opinion because opinions are stated as if they were facts.

That is a beautiful painting. Chocolate cookies are the best.

The simple, progressive, and perfect tenses are all indicative in mood. Most of the time we use indicative mood.

Interrogative mood is sometimes separated from indicative. Questions are interrogative.

Imperative mood is command mood. It gives a command, begs, or advises you to do something. The subject of all imperative sentences is the unstated you.

Do not forget your homework.
(You) do not forget your homework.

Imperative mood uses the base form of the verb (to do without to).

Subjunctive mood shows something hypothetical or contrary to fact. It might be a wish, a desire, a doubt, or an imaginary situation.

I wish school were over. (It's not over.) If school were over, I would take a nap. (It's not over.) If I were a teacher, I would never give homework. (You aren't a teacher.)
Indicative Example Subjunctive Example
is Jason is our nominee for president. be I suggest Jason be our nominee for president.
was I was rich, but now I am poor. were I wish I were rich.
will It will rain tomorrow. would I wish it would rain tomorrow.
present 3rd person verbs with s He finds his socks in the morning. without the s I suggest he find his socks in the morning.
The subjunctive is often used in clauses beginning with if or I wish.

Subjunctive mood can also express a demand or recommendation if it follows that, (after verbs like wish, hope, suggest, ask, demand, recommend, insist, order, command, advise, propose, request, urge) or an uncertainty if it follows if or whether.

I demand that you be at school on time.
I recommend that Sammi do her homework at home.
Whether you be right or wrong, you must be polite.

The subjunctive mood often sounds funny because it is all but gone in informal English and is being used less and less in formal English. We tend to use the conditional mood with the helping verbs could and would instead. If you study foreign languages, though, you will encounter its use.

Some grammar experts include the conditional and infinitive moods. Most only talk about the indicative, the imperative, and the subjunctive.

Conditional mood shows under what conditions something might happen. It uses the helping verbs might, could, and would. It is often connected to a clause in the subjunctive mood.

I might be able to reach him if I call his cell phone.

Infinitive mood expresses action, but it doesn't have a subject. This often leads to sentence fragments. Infinitive verbs are not being used as verbs in the sentence. We consider them verbals and will explore them in the module on phrases.

To receive a compliment graciously, just say thank you.
Wendall loves to read mystery novels.

Practice What You've Learned

English grammar
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Identify each bold-faced verb as indicative, imperative, or subjunctive.
I will go to the grocery store on the way home.
indicative / imperative / subjunctive
Wash the dishes before you play your video games.
indicative / imperative / subjunctive
If you were to bring your dog to school, you would have to take it back home immediately.
indicative / imperative / subjunctive
Four more players will require four more playing pieces.
indicative / imperative / subjunctive
Daria wishes that she were taller.
indicative / imperative / subjunctive
I demand that the student answer the question clearly.
indicative / imperative / subjunctive
Catch the dog before she gets out the door.
indicative / imperative / subjunctive
If I were the teacher, I would know the answer.
indicative / imperative / subjunctive
It is important that Wesley try to solve the problems himself.
indicative / imperative / subjunctive
When I was little, I did believe in ghosts.
indicative / imperative / subjunctive