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Writers Workshop: Writer Resources

Grammar Handbook: Verb Mood

Verbs may be in one of three moods: indicative, imperative, or subjunctive. The indicative mood is used to make factual statements. The imperative mood makes a request or a command. The subjunctive mood can express a doubt or a wish using clauses beginning with "if" or "that"; it can also express a request, demand, or proposal in a clause beginning with "that."

Indicative Mood

Imperative Mood

Subjunctive Mood

Present Subjunctive

Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary verbs "could," "would," and "should" might also express the subjunctive mood, especially when one expresses a condition contrary to fact.

Examples:

Past subjunctive Condition contrary to fact
If the forecaster were correct, I would be prepared.
If the forecaster could be correct, I would be prepared.
If the company were to fly her, she would interview.
If the company would fly her, she would interview.
If Joe were to marry Ann, he would be happy.
If Joe should marry Ann, he would be happy.

Verbs that are often followed by "that" clauses with subjunctive verbs: announce, ask, as if, as though, demand, determine, indicate, insist, move, order, prefer, propose, recommend, request, require, and suggest.