Grammar Police

Written By - The Young Vision Ambassador, Sivadurga Adduri, Leaders Private School - Sharjah.


Verb Moods

We all know that a verb is a word used to describe an action. This verb can be in one of the three moods given below.

  1. Indicative mood
  2. Imperative mood
  3. Subjunctive mood

1. The Indicative Mood

The Indicative Mood is the most widely recognized and is utilized to communicate realities and feelings or to make requests. A large portion of the statements we make or we read will be in this mood.

Examples –

1) The girl fetches the book.
2) Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
3) It will rain tomorrow.

2. The Imperative Mood

The Imperative Mood is likewise normal and is utilized to provide orders or to make demands. This mood is indistinguishable in structure to the second person indicative.


1) Sit down!
2) Please get up.
3) Play the violin!

3. The Subjunctive Mood

The Subjunctive Mood has nearly vanished from the language and is in this manner harder to utilize accurately than either of the other two moods. The Subjunctive Mood once in a while shows up in regular discussions and is utilized in a lot of explicit conditions.

a) To form the present tense subjunctive

Method – Remove the ‘s’ from the end of the third person singular (exception – verb ‘be’)

Examples –
Third Person Singular Present Tense Subjunctive
sits sit
saves save
drinks drink
is be

b) To form the Past Tense Subjunctive

Method – It is identical in form to the past tense indicative (exception – verb ‘be’).

Examples –
Past Tense Indicative Past Tense Subjunctive
sat sat
saved saved
was were
be were

c) Used in traditional and archaic expressions

Examples –
  1. “Murder, though it have no tongue, will speak.” (Shakespeare, Hamlet)
  2. “God save the Queen”
  3. “Heaven forbid

d) Used in complex sentences

The subjunctive mood is used independent clause:

i. To express imaginary conditions.

ii. Along with verbs of wishing or requesting.

iii. Along with an independent clause, which utilizes a verb like require, ask, suggest, wish, etc.

iv. Along with an independent clause, which utilizes an adjective that expresses urgency.

  1. It is urgent that we all stay at home.
  2. The tourist asked the guide to explain the context in brief.
  3. I wish that this were still the Stone Age.

Test your knowledge!

Identify whether the verbs (in bold) are in the correct mood:

  1. If I were you, I wouldn’t keep driving on those tires. (correct/incorrect)
  2. If he was the governor, we’d be in better fiscal shape. (correct/incorrect)
  3. They demanded that the prime minister explains who authorized the action. (correct/incorrect)
  4. Were I to make a list of my favorite films, this would be in second place. (correct/incorrect)
  5. All books, are they fiction or non-fiction, should provide entertainment. (correct/incorrect)

Answers –
  1. correct
  2. incorrect (If he were the governor, we’d be in better fiscal shape.)
  3. incorrect (They demanded that the prime minister explain who authorized the action.)
  4. correct
  5. incorrect (All books, be they fiction or non-fiction, should provide entertainment.)