Verb Moods: Indicative, Imperative, Subjunctive. What Mood Are You In?

Verbs can have one of three moods: indicative, imperative, or subjunctive.

The indicative mood only includes verbs in sentences that are either statements (declarative sentences) or questions (interrogative sentences).

  • It is unfortunate that more people do not live their lives in the spirit of The Golden Rule.
  • Why don’t more people live their lives in the spirit of The Golden Rule?

Sentences of either command or strong request are sentences in which the verb is in the imperative mood. Often, the subject of an imperative mood sentence is not written into the sentence but, rather, is an implied “you.”

  • Stop interrupting me!
  • Be careful up there.

The subjunctive mood is used for several things:

1) When saying something that is contrary to fact; that is, when using verbs of wishing or wanting, use the subjunctive.

  • I wish I were 18 again.

2) When one part of the sentence holds true only if the first part of the sentence occurs, use the subjunctive.

  • If he were taller, then he’d be president.

3) When the sentence is a recommendation, use the subjunctive.

  • The committee recommends that you be dismissed immediately.


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