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Modes of Verbs

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  • Feb. 2011
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Modes of verb
Mode is the manner in which the action, the being, or the state is asserted. Mode does not show the manner of the action or state, but the manner of its assertion. The action or state may be asserted:

• as something that may, can, or must take place.
• as something imagined or supposed which is placed under a condition. • as something desired.
In written English, the mode or manner of the action or state is expressed by means of limiting words. For example
The soldier fought (a reality) bravely (manner of the act). The soldier may fight (something imagined) bravely (manner of the supposed act).

The infinitive is not properly a mode of the verb. Since it does not assert action at all, it cannot be said to have any manner or mode of assertion. The same may be said of the participle. In fact, the infinitive is a participle, partaking of the properties of the noun and the verb, as the participle partakes of the properties of the adjective and the verb. There are five modes:

• indicative
• potential
• subjunctive
• imparative
• infinitive
The indicative mode is the most common mode. It asserts a thing as actually existing. For example
James plays baseball.
William was struck.
Has he come?

The potential mode asserts the power, liberty, permission, necessity, or duty of acting, or of being in a certain state. For example
We can sing.
You may write.
Must he read?
They should obey the law.
Will you do it?

The subjunctive mode asserts a thing as conditional or as doubtful. For example
if he leave me
though he betray me

The imperative mode asserts a command, an entreaty, or a permission. For example
Go thou.
Be admonished.

The infinitive represents the action or state as an abstract noun. For example
to write
to be seen

The Indicative Mode

The indicative mode is used in principal propositions and is employed to represent what is actual, real, or absolute. It may be used in...