Indicative Mood,
Imperative Mood
and Subjunctive Mood

English moods include the indicative mood, the imperative mood and the subjunctive mood. What are they and how do you use them correctly?

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First of all, what is a MOOD?

mood = a way to express the attitude of the speaker to what is being said.

There are three moods in English.

Indicative Mood

Indicative Mood
"We finished the project on time."

Indicative means "stating a fact."

The indicative mood is a category of verb forms that we use to state facts.

  • "Joe plays outside." (The speaker thinks it's a fact.)

  • "It will rain soon." (The speaker thinks it's a fact.)

  • "She was studying all day long." (The speaker thinks it's a fact.)
The indicative mood is the basic mood of verbs in English.

Imperative Mood

Imperative Mood
"Get plenty of rest!"

Imperative means "expressing an order."

The imperative mood is a category of verb forms that we use to express orders, instructions, commands or requests.

  • "Go outside!" (This is a command.)

  • "Close the door, please." (This is a request.)

  • "Don't move the object." (This is an instruction.)

Subjunctive Mood

Subjunctive Mood
"I wish I had some cheese..."

means "subordinate" (less important than something else) or "dependent" (needing something/someone else).

The subjunctive mood is a category of verb forms that we use to express things that are not facts: wishes, possibilities, doubts, suggestions, conditions, etc.

  • "It may snow tomorrow."
    (It is not a fact yet. It is a possibility in the speaker's mind.)
    (Incorrect: "It will snow tomorrow.")

  • "I would do it if I had the time."
    (It is not a fact. It depends on me having the time.)

  • "You should listen to your parents."
    (It is not a fact. It is a suggestion.)

  • "I suggest that Robert wait a few minutes."
    (It is not a fact. It is a suggestion.)
    (Incorrect: "I suggest that Robert waits a few minutes.")

  • "It's important that Sandra leave on time."
    (It is not a fact. It is what needs to be done.)
    (Incorrect: "It's important that Sandra leaves on time.")

  • "I doubt that Mary would forget your birthday."
    (It is not a fact that Mary will forget the birthday. The speakers has doubts about it.)

  • "Father insisted that Jennifer go to school."
    (It is not a fact that Jennifer will go to school. It is her father's intention.)
    (Incorrect: "Father insisted that Jeniffer goes to school.")

  • "If he had worked harder, he would have completed the task on time."
    (He didn't work harder, so he didn't complete the task on time.)

  • "I wish I were faster."
    (I am not faster. This is a wish in my mind.)
    (Incorrect: "I wish I was faster.")

  • "If I were you, I would accept the offer."
    (I am not you. This is an unreal condition in my mind.)
    (Incorrect: "If I was you, I will accept the offer.")

  • "I wish it were summer now."
    (It is not summer now. This is a wish in my mind.)
    (Incorrect: "I wish it is summer now.")

  • "She suggests that Michael move to the sales department."
    (Incorrect: "She suggests that Michael moves to the sales department.")
All these sentences were examples of the use of the subjunctive mood.

Related articles:

English Conditionals: First Conditional, Second Conditional, Third Conditional and Zero Conditional

English Modal Verbs

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