Verb has mood that indicates the attitude as conveyed in a sentence by a speaker or writer. Verbs have three moods. A verb in each of these moods expresses the following:
- indicative mood: simple statement of a fact
- imperative mood: command
- subjunctive mood: imagination or wish
1. Indicative mood
The indicative mood makes statements of fact or what is believed to be fact. For example, she believes that mermaids exist in the lake. True or not, she believes her statement to be true. The verb believes is in the indicative mood, indicating her belief in the existence of mermaids in the lake. The indicative mood of a verb also asks questions. It is the most frequently used to make simple statements of fact and ask questions.
- The meal is delicious.
(It's a fact that the meal I ate just now was delicious.)
- She drives to work every working day.
(It is true that she drives to work every working day.)
- Have you done your homework?
(When the verb asks a question, it is in the indicative mood.)
- Do you believe in ghost?
(The verb is in the indicative mood for asking a question.)
2. Imperative mood
The imperative mood of a verb is used to express a command which can be positive or negative or give an order. When written, the imperative is accompanied by an exclamation mark (!) at the end of the sentence or word. The implied subject of a verb in an imperative statement is understood to be always the second person you. It therefore uses the second person.
Imperative in positive form:
- Pay attention to what I say! (You pay attention to what I say!)
- Leave her alone!
- Wait there, not here!
Imperative has its negative form:
- Don't touch it! It's poisonous!
- Mustn't say such silly things.
- Shouldn't step on the grass!
The imperative may also be used to express an instruction without the use of the exclamation point to signify it's less emphatic.
- Make way.
- Lock the door behind you.
- Swallow three of these pills after dinner.
3. Subjunctive mood
The subjunctive mood of a verb expresses what is imagined or wished, or a statement or hypothetical situation that is contrary to fact because it cannot be true, and also demands, recommendations, suppositions, etc in clauses introduced by that.
- I wish I were a billionaire. (This is a wish, so were is used in the subjunctive mood.)
- If Henry were alive, he would be among us celebrating this occasion.
(This is a conditional statement as Henry is not alive. The statement is introduced by the conjunction if to indicate the condition is contrary to fact.)
We use the subjunctive mood when making hypothetical statements beginning with if.
- If he were alive, he wouldn't be happy with what you are doing.
(This is a wish, so were is used in the subjunctive mood.)
- If I were you, I wouldn't do a stupid thing like that.
(When a statement like this is contrary to fact as I cannot be you, we use the subjunctive were.)
- If she were here now, she would join in the singing.
(A supposition that requires the use of were in the subjunctive mood.).
When the subjunctive mood of a verb is used with the present tense third person singular, the letter –s that is typically added to the end of the singular verb is dropped. Clauses containing subjunctives are commonly introduced by the word that such as ask that, demand that, insist that, recommend that, request that, suggest that, wish that, etc.
- She asked that her husband stay behind with the baby.
- They demand that he come at once.
- We insist that your child stop making that strange noise.
- The attendees request that she speak louder.
- His friends recommend that he get a new wife.
- I suggest that you be silent when I’m talking.
Other clauses containing subjunctives are introduced by if, as if, as though, or supposing.
- If a giant serpent were to inhabit the lake, it would become a popular tourist attraction.
- She behaved as if she were the owner of my house.
- Her mother dressed as though she were a young girl.
- We are prepared to join the search party, supposing he were not found by this afternoon.
Subjunctive mood is used to follow expressions that begin with it is crucial that, it is desirable that, it is important that, it is necessary that, etc
- It is crucial that the new leadership make the right decisions for an economic recovery.
- It is desirable that the person joining our company be skilled at cooking.
- It is important that the coach be replaced before the next season.
- It is essential that he receive a fair hearing.
The verb be is followed by past tense or adjective in the subjunctive clause.
- He asks that she be awake during the lecture.
- We demand that the proposed project be explained to the members.
- The Manager instructed that all be present at next week’s meeting.
- She requested that her appointment with the doctor be postponed.