You most likely think of "mood" as a feeling, like when someone is annoyed with you, and you may also know "mood" as the prevailing emotion in a piece of writing. Mood sets the scene in literature and in life, but what is mood in grammar? Grammatical mood, also known as mode, refers to the quality or form of a verb in a sentence. More specifically, mood denotes the tone of a verb in a sentence, so the intention of the writer or speaker is clear.
When considering mood in grammar, there are five basic types: conditional, imperative, indicative, interrogative, and subjunctive. For example, a sentence containing a request or a command (imperative) will carry a different mood than a sentence that's expressing a wish, a doubt or a hypothetical (subjunctive).
Let's take a closer look at each verb form.
A sentence with a conditional mood contains an auxiliary verb (a helping verb) and a main verb. You'll be able to spot the conditional mood if you see the auxiliary verbs "would" or "should." They'll support the main verb. Common examples include "would like" or "should have."
Another telltale sign of the conditional mood is the "if this, then that" construct. "If/then" clearly indicates one action is dependent upon another. For example, "If she wasn't so mean, then he would have helped her."
Here are a few more examples of the conditional mood:
A sentence with an imperative mood makes a request or a command. These sentences don't make mild suggestions. Rather, they issue a direct command, telling someone what to do.
In these sentences, the verb will express a direct call to action. Sometimes the subject "you" will be understood, as in the first example. Other times, it'll be clear who the subject is.
Here are some examples of the imperative mood:
A sentence with an indicative mood expresses a factual statement, at least from the perspective of the speaker. Most sentences are written in the indicative mood, sharing facts or details that we perceive to be correct.
In these sentences, the verb will express some sort of action, as a statement of fact. Here are some examples of the indicative mood:
A sentence with an interrogative mood asks a question. It expresses a sense of uncertainty. This may make you think of interrogative sentences, which also ask a question.
When dealing with the interrogative mood, there will typically be two verbs. One will be an auxiliary verb. Again, you can think of an auxiliary verb as a helping verb to the main verb. It provides further clarification for the main verb of the sentence.
Common auxiliary verbs include are, be, do, and have. In sentences with an interrogative mood, the auxiliary verb will often come before the subject of the sentence. A question mark will also be required for proper punctuation.
Here are some examples of the interrogative mood:
A sentence with a subjunctive mood expresses a condition that is doubtful, hypothetical, wishful or not factual. The subjunctive verb in these sentences will show action, but it will be dependent upon some other action (indicative), which is where you'll find the doubt or questioning.
A great way to spot sentences written in the subjunctive mood is to note clauses beginning with "if." Then, you'll clearly notice that the verb tends to express a doubt, wish, request, demand, proposal, or hypothetical situation.
Here are some examples of the subjective mood:
When you think of all the rhetorical devices at our disposal - alliteration, hyperbole, and personification, among others - many of them help set the mood of a piece of literature. While grammatical mood does not refer to emotion or feelings, it does convey a certain tone with the mood of the verb in a sentence indicating a fact, a command, a question, a condition, or a wish.
A straightforward, factual sentence possesses an indicative mood while a sentence that expresses possibility or doubt uses a subjunctive mood. Consider what message you'd like to send readers in every line, chapter, and verse you create. Readers often enjoy reading between the lines.
Are you ready to put pen to paper and see what kind of mood you can create with your words? Allow these examples of short stories to light the fires of endless creativity.