The mood of a statement is the way the speaker or writer intends it to be interpreted. Mood is indicated by forms of verbs. To be interpreted as you intend, make sure that you
Use the proper verb form to indicate the mood of your statement.
There are three moods in English:
1. The indicative mood: a declarative statement or a question.
a) Do you know today’s reading assignment?
b) I know today’s reading assignment.
2. The imperative mood: a command or request.
a) Close the door.
b) Please bring me a pencil.
3. The subjunctive mood: a condition contrary to fact, a supposition, a hypothesis, or a recommendation.
a) I recommend that we purchase a new computer.
b) If I were you, I would not wear those shoes in this weather.
c) If he had looked both ways, he would not have been hit by a car.
In formal writing, do not use the verb forms of the subjunctive to indicate continuous past action. Use the simple past tense instead.
Each year for a decade, the legislature would pass a death penalty bill, and each year the governor would veto it.
Each year for a decade, the legislature passed a death penalty bill, and each year the governor vetoed it.
Find Your Voice
What good is having a great idea if you can’t communicate it effectively? We’ll teach you how to express yourself through writing and speaking, of course, but also through digital communications and artistic expression — all of which will help you stand out no matter what path you choose after graduation.
Office / Department Name
Nesbitt-Johnston Writing Center
Writing Center Director