Moods of the Verb

When we express our feelings, we often do so through different moods. Conversely, when we write or speak, we convey our thoughts and attitudes, or moods, through verbs. In English, there are three primary moods that verbs can take on: indicative, imperative, and subjunctive. In this tutorial, we'll discuss these moods in detail, exploring their definitions, applications, examples, and rules of use. By the end of this tutorial, you'll better understand and recognize the different moods of verbs in English grammar.

Indicative Mood

The indicative mood is used to state facts, ask questions or express opinions. It is the most commonly used mood in English and is used to express simple factual statements.

1.1 Examples of Indicative Mood

Here are a few examples of verbs in the indicative mood:

  • They play soccer on Sundays.
  • I am going to the store.
  • Does she want ice cream?
  • It is raining.

Imperative Mood

The imperative mood is used to issue commands, instructions, or requests. The subject of the verb is usually omitted in imperative sentences.

2.1 Examples of Imperative Mood

Here are a few examples of verbs in the imperative mood:

  • Stop at the red light.
  • Please pass the salt.
  • Be quiet.
  • Don't move.

Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood is less common in English and is often used to talk about hypothetical or non-real situations, discuss wishes or doubts, or make polite requests. It also expresses necessity or purpose.

3.1 Examples of Subjunctive Mood

Here are a few examples of verbs in the subjunctive mood:

  • If I were president, I would lower taxes.
  • I suggest that he study more for his test.
  • She insists that it be done today.
  • I wish they were here.

Rules for Using Different Moods

Rule 1: The indicative mood

When you want to talk about real-life situations or ask questions, use the indicative mood. The structure of indicative mood sentences is pretty straightforward: subject + verb. Keep in mind, the verb should agree with the subject in number and person.

Rule 2: The imperative mood

The imperative mood is typically used for orders or requests. In most cases, the subject of the sentence is omitted, as it's generally clear who the command is directed towards. The verb is in the base form and no subject is typically used.

Rule 3: The subjunctive mood

The subjunctive mood is typically used to discuss hypothetical situations, express wishes, and provide advice. The verb "to be" changes to "were" regardless of the subject, but other verbs don't change form.


In closing, remember that each mood lends a certain tone or emotion to what you're saying, so choose wisely to convey your thoughts effectively. By mastering these moods, you can express your thoughts, opinions, and feelings more effectively than ever before. Now that you understand verb moods, try spotting them in the sentences you read and listen to in your daily life!

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