Mood (grammar)

Mood is a property of a verb that tells a reader whether a sentence is a statement, a question, a request, or a wish. There are three primary moods in English: the indicative, the imperative, and the subjunctive.

Indicative Mood

Most sentences are in the indicative mood. It is used to make statements, express opinions, and ask questions.

The sky is blue.
I think the sky is blue.
Is the sky blue?

Imperative Mood

The imperative mood signals that a sentence is a request or a command. The subject of an imperative sentence is sometimes omitted; in the following example, the subject is understood to be you.

Tell me the color of the sky.

Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood is used primarily for expressing wishes and conditions that are contrary to fact. (For more information, see Subjunctive Mood.)

If I were king, I would make the sky purple.

Shifts in Mood

In sentences with more than one verb, avoid shifting from one mood to another.

Incorrect: Look at the sky, and you will tell me its color. [imperative to indicative]
Correct: Look at the sky, and tell me its color.
Or: You will look at the sky and tell me its color.


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