Mood

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Verb Moods A verb may be in one of three m oods : the indicative mood, the imperative mood, and the subjunctive mood .

The Indicative Mood:

The Indicative Mood the most common and is used to express facts and opinions or to make inquiries most of the statements you make or read EXAMPLES Joe picks up the boxes. The german shepherd fetches the stick. Charles closes the window.

The Imperative Mood :

The Imperative Mood also common and is used to give orders or to make requests identical in form to the second person indicative EXAMPLES: Pick up those boxes. Fetch. Close the window.

The Subjunctive Mood :

The Subjunctive Mood expresses a condition which is doubtful or not factual often found in a clause beginning with the word if also found in clauses following a verb that expresses a doubt, a wish, regret, request, demand, or proposal

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These are verbs typically followed by clauses that take the subjunctive: ask, demand, determine, insist, move, order, pray, prefer, recommend, regret, request, require, suggest, and wish

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In English there is no difference between the subjunctive and normal, or indicative, form of the verb except for the present tense third person singular and for the verb to be. 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. The subjunctive mood of the verb to be is be in the present tense and were in the past tense, regardless of what the subject is.

The subjunctive mood of the verb to be is be in the present tense and were in the past tense, regardless of what the subject is. :

The subjunctive mood of 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 run. Correct: If I were you, I would run. (The verb follows if and expresses a non-factual condition.)

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Incorrect: I wish he was able to type faster. Correct: I wish he were able to type faster. (The second verb is in a clause following a verb expressing a wish. It also suggests a non-factual or doubtful condition.)

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Incorrect: His requirement is that everyone is computer literate. Correct: His requirement is that everyone be computer literate. (Subordinate clause follows main clause with a demand.) Incorrect: He recommended that each driver reports his tips. Correct: He recommended that each driver report his tips.

Sometimes we may use the conditional auxiliary verbs of could, should, or would to express the same sense. :

Sometimes we may use the conditional auxiliary verbs of could, should, or would to express the same sense. Subjunctive: I wish he were kinder to me. Conditional: I wish he would be kinder to me. Note: In modern English, the subjunctive is found only in subordinate clauses.

The subjunctive may be used in the following circumstances in formal writing. :

The subjunctive may be used in the following circumstances in formal writing. Contrary-to-fact clauses beginning with if : "If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?“ (Abraham Lincoln) Contrary-to-fact clauses expressing a wish: "At that moment, I had the most desperate wish that she were dead.“ (Harrison Ford as Rusty Sabich in Presumed Innocent , 1990)

The subjunctive may be used in the following circumstances in formal writing. :

The subjunctive may be used in the following circumstances in formal writing. That clauses after verbs such as ask, demand, insist, propose, request , and suggest : "I demand that he leave at once." Statements of necessity: "It's necessary that she be in the room with you."

The subjunctive may be used in the following circumstances in formal writing. :

The subjunctive may be used in the following circumstances in formal writing. Certain fixed expressions: as it were, be that as it may be, far be it from me, heaven forbid, if need be, so be it, suffice it to say

Additional Examples :

Additional Examples "I wouldn't bring up Paris if I were you. It's poor salesmanship." (Humphrey Bogart as Rick in Casablanca , 1942) "If music be the food of love, play on." (William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night ) "The public be damned." (William Henry Vanderbilt, Oct. 8, 1882)

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If I were six feet, six inches tall, I would have a shot at playing in the NBA. (I’m not six feet, six inches tall, so I’m speaking contrary to fact.) If I were to find $20 on the ground, I would buy the latest Harry Potter DVD. (I haven’t found $20 on the ground. I’m just speaking hypothetically.) My brother would have better grades in math if he were a more conscientious student. (He’s not a very conscientious student. We’re speaking contrary to fact.)

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Were I to find some inspiration, I would finish this article with plenty of time to spare. (I don’t yet have the inspiration. I’m speaking hypothetically.) The key is that were should always be attached to the hypothetical condition, and would should always be attached to the consequence.

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with sentences that express demands or suggestions . So keep an eye out for verbs such as insist, recommend, demand, suggest, require, request, mandate, propose, etc. There’s a particular way that such sentences should be constructed. Here are some examples. I insisted that my daughter go to the bathroom before getting in the car. My brother recommends that you buy the extended warranty.

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The contract mandates that the publisher respect Kim’s copyright. I propose that you be the chaperone for the school trip. The key here is that in order to put the second verb in the subjunctive mood we have to use the simplest base form of the verb. Think of it as the infinitive but without even using “to” at the beginning. The subjunctive verbs in the above four sentences are, respectively, go , buy , respect , and be . You always use this simplest of verb forms.

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The subjunctive mood is used in dependent clauses that do the following: 1) express a wish; 2) begin with if and express a condition that does not exist (is contrary to fact); 3) begin with as if and as though when such clauses describe a speculation or condition contrary to fact; and 4) begin with that and express a demand, requirement, request, or suggestion.

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She wishes her boyfriend were here. If Juan were more aggressive, he'd be a better hockey player. We would have passed if we had studied harder. He acted as if he were guilty. I requested that he be present at the hearing.

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The New York Public Library's Writer's Guide to Style and Usage has this important note on the subjunctive: "The words if, as if , or as though do not always signal the subjunctive mood. If the information in such a clause points out a condition that is or was probable or likely, the verb should be in the indicative mood. The indicative tells the reader that the information in the dependent clause could possibly be true" (155). Cited with permission.

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