The Category of Mood in Modern English
Mood is a grammatical category which indicates the attitude of the speaker towards the action expressed by the verb from the point of view of its reality. In Modern English we distinguish three moods:
(1) The Indicative Mood
(2) The Imperative Mood
(3) The Oblique Moods
The Indicative Mood shows that the action or state expressed by the verb is presented as a fact: We went home early in the evening.
The Indicative Mood is also used to express a real condition, i.e. a condition the realization of which is considered possible: If it rains, I shall stay at home.
The Imperative Mood expresses a command or a request. In Modern English the Imperative Mood has only one form which coincides with the infinitive without the particle to; it is used in the second person (singular and plural): Be quiet and hear what I tell you.
Please put the papers on the table, by the bed.
In forming the negative the auxiliary verb to do is always used, even with the verb to be: Hush! Don't make a noise!
Don't be angry...
The auxiliary verb to do may also be used in affirmative sentences to make the request more emphatic: But now, do sing again to us.
To make a request or an order more emphatic the subject expressed by the pronoun you is sometimes used. It is characteristic of colloquial speech: I'll drive and you sleep awhile.
Note: A command addressed to the third person singular and plural is usually expressed with the help of the verb to let: Let the child go home at once.
Let the children go home at once.
With the first person plural the verb to let is used to express an exhortation to a joint action: Let's go and have some fresh coffee.
The Oblique Moods show the fulfillment of the action as something desirable, doubtful, depending on certain conditions, etc., but not as a matter of fact. The following types of the Oblique Moods are distinguished: Subjunctive I
The Imperative Mood
The Imperative Mood represents an action as a command, urging, warning addressed to one’s interlocutor(s). In the Imperative Mood the speaker urges the person addressed to fulfill an action. It is a direct expression of one’s will. Therefore it is much more subjective than the Indicative Mood.
The Imperative Mood has only one simple form for the second person singular and plural, and it is the plain base-form of the verb. It is homonymous with the Bare Infinitive. There is no tense distinction or perfect aspect, and only very rarely does the continuous form occur, e.g. (1)Be preparing the dinner when he comes in. (2)Be always searching for truth. (3)And don’t you be forgetting about it. A passive is equally rare (but only with the verb “to be”), e.g. Be warned in time. Other auxiliaries are normally used in passive structures with the imperative, especially to tell people to arrange for things to be done for them, e.g. (1)Get washed. (2)Get vaccinated as soon as you can.
We can make an emphatic imperative with do + infinitive. This is common in polite requests, complaints and apologies, e.g. (1)Do sit down. (2)Do forgive me – I didn’t mean to interrupt.
Although do is not normally used as an auxiliary with be, do is used before be in negative and emphatic imperatives, e.g. (1)Don’t be silly! (2)Do be quiet!
The imperative does not usually have a subject, but we can use a noun or pronoun to make it clear who we are speaking to, e.g. (1)Mary come here – everybody else stay where you are. (2)Somebody answer the phone. (3)Nobody move. (4)Relax everybody. The personal pronoun you before an imperative can suggest emphatic persuasion or anger, e.g. (1)You just sit down and relax for a bit. (2)You take your hands off me! Note the word order in negative imperatives with pronoun subjects, e.g. (1)Don’t you believe it. (2)Don’t anybody say a word. In Old English the pronoun-subject was generally placed...
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