Indicative Mood

What Is the Indicative Mood?

The indicative mood is a verb form that makes a statement or asks a question. For example:
  • Jack sings every Friday.
  • (This is a verb in the indicative mood. It's a statement.)
  • Is Jack the lead vocalist?
  • (This is a verb in the indicative mood. It's a question.)
Compare the examples above with this:
  • Sing us a song, Jack.
  • (This verb is not in the indicative mood. It is in the imperative mood. It's an order. It's not a statement or a question.)

Table of Contents

  • Examples of Verbs in the Indicative Mood
  • What Is Mood?
  • Why Indicative Mood Is Important
  • Test Time!
indicative mood
The vast majority of verbs in sentences are in the indicative mood.

The main verb in a declarative sentence (a statement) or an interrogative sentence (a question) will be in the indicative mood.

Examples of Verbs in the Indicative Mood

Here are some more examples of verbs in the indicative mood (shaded):
  • The sky is clear tonight.
  • She stopped during the third lap.
  • The aliens will be unable to breathe our air.
  • Is that a whelk?
  • That was tasty. Did you like it?
  • (This is a declarative sentence followed by an interrogative sentence.)

What Is Mood?

Mood is the form a verb takes to show how it is to be regarded (e.g., as a fact, a command, a wish, an uncertainty).

There are three major moods in English:
  • The Indicative Mood. This states facts or asks questions. For example:
    • She is driving the car.
    • Is she driving the car?
  • The Imperative Mood. This expresses a command or a request. For example:
    • Drive the car!
    • Please drive the car.
  • The Subjunctive Mood. This shows a wish or doubt. For example:
    • I suggest that Dawn drive the car.
    • I propose that Dawn be asked to drive the car.
    • If I were Dawn, I would drive the car.

Why Indicative Mood Is Important

Most sentences are in the indicative mood. Therefore, it can be considered the "baseline" mood. (The biggest point for learners related to the indicative mood is understanding how to form questions.) In essence, the indicative mood is the baseline against which the other more-abstract moods (i.e., the imperative mood and the subjunctive mood) are compared.

Key Points

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This page was written by Craig Shrives.