We use MOODS

to communicate more effectively. We want to

  • state a fact
  • make a request
  • give a command
  • talk about a condition/hypothesis/wish/possibility
  • ask a question
  • express an action

We use the INDICATIVE mood

to talk about facts:

  • I like chocolate.
  • I saw a movie.
  • I will call my parents tomorrow.

We use the IMPERATIVE mood

to give a command or make a request:

  • Stop running!
  • Please call me tonight.
  • Let’s have dinner.
  • Everyone stay calm and walk slowly!

We use the SUBJUNCTIVE mood

to express a wish, command, or doubt:

  • I wish you would stop running.
  • I recommend that you attend the meeting.
  • I suggest that everyone read the book.
  • I recommended that she see the movie.
  • I wish you he could join us.
  • I suggested that everyone arrive before the birthday boy.


is considered a mood by some and not by others. It is used to express conditions:

  • If I put water in the freezer, it freezes. Zero conditional.
  • If it gets too dark, I will use my flashlight. First conditional.
  • If I had more time, I would take a vacation. Second conditional.
  • If had seen them at the party, I would have asked them about their new home. Third conditional.
  • If we had used the GPS, we would not be lost. Mixed third and second conditionals.

We use the INTERROGATIVE mood

to ask questions:

  • Have they arrived?
  • Is he happy?
  • Do we have to attend the meeting tomorrow?
  • Will they call tomorrow?
  • Are they visiting next month?
  • Did they give you the information you needed?
  • Will he like his new car?
  • Does she like her new phone?
  • Did they like their new house?

We use the INFINITIVE mood

to name an action or express a state of being:

  • She came to see me.
  • They love to read.
  • It’s important to stay physically active.
  • She is to be admired.

Once we decide what mood to use,

we must choose an appropriate verb tense.

Tip: We conjugate verbs. We do not conjugate moods.

There are many verb tenses and we use them to talk about the present, past, and future. Here are some examples in the indicative mood:

  • I walk to work every day. Simple present tense, indicative mood.
  • They walked on the beach every morning. Simple past tense, indicative mood.
  • We will walk back to the office after lunch. Simple future tense, indicative mood.
  • I am typing on my computer. Present progressive tense, indicative mood.
  • I was not typing on my computer one hour ago. Past progressive tense, indicative mood.
  • I will not be typing on my computer in one hour. Future progressive tense, indicative mood.
  • I have typed many emails on my computer. Present perfect tense, indicative mood.
  • I have been typing for one hour. Present perfect progressive tense, indicative mood.
  • She asked me to see the new Bond film, but I had already seen it. Past perfect tense, indicative mood.

How do we choose the mood?

  • We use the INDICATIVE mood more than any other and we use it to talk about facts.
  • We use the INFINITIVE mood to name an action or talk about a state of being.
  • We use the SUBJUNCTIVE and CONDITIONAL moods when we want to express something unreal: a condition, wish, or possibility.
  • We use the INTERROGATIVE mood to ask questions.

Tip: Some people say MODES.

Try the moods quiz!

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