Mood for Grammar

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Basics of English Grammar – All Levels

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Lesson 17

A mood shows the writer’s attitude toward what he/she is saying. Indicative Mood states an actuality or fact.

  • We will go to see a movie this Sunday.
  • I’ll follow you.

Imperative Mood makes a request.

  • Let’s go to see a movie this weekend!
  • Please stop bugging me!

Subjunctive Mood expresses a doubtful condition (contrary to fact) and is often used with an “if” clause.

  • If I were you, I wouldn’t buy a house.
  • I wish I were more organized.

The following verbs often attract the subjunctive mood: ask, recommend, suggest, wish, insist, order, commend, request, and demand.A verb in the subjunctive mood may have a different form. The subjunctive for the present tense third-person singular drops the s or es so that it looks and sounds like the present tense for everything else. In the subjunctive mood, the verb to be is be in the present tense and were in the past tense, regardless of what the subject is.

  • Incorrect: If I was you, I would take any offer.
  • Correct: If I were you, I would take any offer. (The verb follows ‘if’ and expresses a non-factual condition.)
  • Incorrect: I wish I was able to speak English fluently.
  • Correct: I wish I were able to speak English fluently. (The second verb is in a clause following a verb expressing a wish. It suggests a non-factual or doubtful condition.)
    • Incorrect: Our suggestion is that everyone on the team does the survey.
    • Correct: Our suggestion is that everyone on the team do the survey.
  • Incorrect: She recommended that each student takes a note.
  • Correct: She recommended that each student take a note.

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