What do you think when you hear the word “mood”? I guess you think of a good or bad mood, in other words, different emotional conditions of a person. But what if I told you that “mood” is a grammatical category in English! Let us explore this topic and learn all about grammatical moods! 

Well, “mood” is a grammatical category, like number or gender. “Mood” is a category of verbs (e.g. to like, to say, to listen, to have, etc.). With its help we can form different sentences with one verb, for example: 

  • I listen to music every day when I go to the office.
  • Listen to me!
  • I wish I could listen to my favourite music all day long! 

As you can see from the examples, with one verb “listen” we show whether the situation is real or unreal, leads to a concrete action or just tells us about some fact. In general, it is the function of the “mood”, to show how the situation is connected with the word (Is it prediction, fact or order?). There are three types of mood in English:

  • Indicative mood (real word - facts)
  • Subjunctive mood (unreal word - predictions, wishes, guesses, judgements)
  • Imperative mood (orders, instructions, requests)

Firstly, let us talk about indicative mood, the easiest and most common one. You already know how to use it! It is a general mood, which is used when you talk about something real, for instance, your day, your experience: “I woke up, had breakfast and went to the office”. 

In this mood we use different grammar tenses. And you remember, that there are three groups of English grammar tenses: Present, Past, Future. There are also Simple, Continuous and Perfect tenses.

On the contrary, the other mood - Subjunctive mood, is used to describe something not real. How is it possible? Let us compare: “I am walking in the park now”, it is a real fact, if I say this, then I am doing this, it is indicative mood. But if I am sitting in the office and I say to my colleague: “Oh, the weather is fabulous! I wish I could walk in the park right now instead of sitting in the office!”, it is not happening, it is just a wish in my head, so it is unreal. It is a subjunctive mood. So, is the subjunctive mood used just with “wish”? No, you can use this mood in different situations, the most common are:

  • the verb “wish”: “I wish I was a millionaire!”
  • Conditional sentences (second, third and mixed conditionals): “If I were you, I would definitely accept that offer!”
  • special groups of verbs expressing opinion, judgment, prediction, like “suggest, consider, insist, recommend, advise, etc”: “I suggest you leave the room”

Then, how to form this mood? It is simple, it is usually a verb without “to” in the present or past, for instance: “come, had, stay, slept, etc.”. Subjunctive mood can also be compound, consisting of two verb forms, but it depends on a concrete sentence.

And the last mood is Imperative. It is quite easy and we already said that it is used for orders, instructions and requests, for example: “Listen to me! (order) Repeat after me! (instruction) Give me the paper, please! (request)”. It is easy to form: you should use the infinitive verb form without “to”. In general, in such sentences there is no subject (e.g. Jack, I, she, people, cat), so we put the verb at the beginning of a sentence. But if you want to use “never” or “always” in imperative, put them at the beginning: “Never lie to me!”.

And that was all for today’s topic “Moods in English”. Now you know all about these categories and will not be confused to use them in your speech. If you are interested in studying each mood in a more detailed way, let me know this in the comments below!