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THE PARTS OF SPEECH [ ? ]
MISUSED ENGLISH WORDS
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the Indicative Mood, the Imperative Mood,
and the Subjunctive Mood
The change in the verb to show the mood, or feeling, of the writer or speaker is called mood.
How does the form of the verb to be change in the following sentences?
1. The stapler is here. (States a fact)
2. Where is my pink stapler? (Asks a question)
3. Be respectful to the police officer. (Gives a command)
4. If it were my shirt, I should hang it out. (Contrary to fact)
5. Glory be to the flag! (Wish)
6. I vote that this be our logo. (Choice)
In the first two sentences we use the indicative form of the verb. In the third sentence we use the imperative form of the verb. In the fourth, fifth, and sixth sentences we use the subjunctive form of the verb.
English has only three moods: the indicative, the imperative, and the subjunctive.
The indicative mood states a fact or asks a question.
The imperative mood gives a command or an appeal. The subject of the verb is understood ("you").
The subjunctive mood has a special form of the verb; it expresses a wish, conscious choice, or a condition contrary to fact.
(1) The imperative mood is the simple form of the verb.
EX. Hang the shirt over the chair to dry.
(2) The subjunctive mood uses the simple form of the verb through all the persons and numbers of the present tense and uses the past form for all the persons and numbers alike. We use it frequently with the conjunction "if". EX. "If I were you."
NOTE We rarely use the present subjunctive in modern speech or writing. It has become outdated.
The imperative is the mood of command or request.
EX. Hurry! Shut the front door.
EX. Light the candle.
EX. Lie down.
EX. Have two aspirins.
EX. Show us the way.
The imperative has both voices, active and passive, but only one tense: the present. It has both numbers, the singular and the plural, but only one person, the second. It has the same form for both the singular and the plural.
The imperative active is the verb in its simplest form.
The imperative of the verb to be is be.
EX. Be brave.
EX. Be cautious.
EX. Be sure you lend him the money.
The imperative passive is a verb-phrase consisting of be and a past participle.
EX. Be trusted rather than hated.
Mood is that property of verbs that shows the manner in which the writer expresses the action or state.
Compare the forms of the verb in the following sentences:
EX. Brian is quiet.
EX. If Brian were quiet, I might sleep.
EX. Is Brian quiet?
EX. Brian, be quiet.
In the first and second sentences, we used the form is to assert or question a fact; in the third, we use the form were to express a condition or supposition that is contrary to fact; in the fourth, we use the form be to express a command or request.
The difference in form of the verb is called a difference of mood.
1. The indicative is the mood of simple assertion or interrogation, but we can also use it in other constructions as well.
2. The imperative is the mood of command or request.
3. The subjunctive mood is used in certain special constructions of wish, condition, and the like.
The ordinary forms of the indicative mood in the active and the passive voice and in all six tenses are: present, past, future, perfect tenses.
We commonly use the indicative mood in statements or questions regarding matters of fact; but we may also express almost any other form of thought.
EX. The cruise ship waits for no one. [Assertion.]
EX. How happy are you this morning? [Interrogation.]
EX. I can't believe it is snowing! [Exclamation.]
EX. If the river rises, the dam will bust and drown the town. [Supposition.]
EX. I suspect that he stole the money. [Doubt.]
EX. I hope that Robert will propose to me soon. [Desire.]
EX. Though Mary dislikes math, she never quits. [Concession.]
EX. You will report for duty immediately. [Command.]
EX. Will you allow me to use your bug spray? [Request.]
NOTE The indicative and the subjunctive were originally distinct in form, and each had its own set of constructions. But, as our language has grown simpler in its structure, the forms of these two moods have become almost identical. As a result, we use the indicative more than the subjunctive. We often describe the indicative as the mood which asserts thought as a fact, and the subjunctive as the mood which expresses thought as supposition (or as simple thought). But the indicative, as well as the subjunctive, may express assumption, condition, doubt, desire, concession, etc.