Moods and tenses are different concepts in English grammar that are widely confused. In this lesson, we will learn all about moods in English grammar.

"Moods" in the English Grammar

What Do We Mean by Moods?

'Mood' (also known as modality) is used to describe a special state or form of the verb. They show the writer's or speaker's attitude toward or intention for the action expressed by the verb.

Moods: Types

Based on whether verbs express facts, commands, questions, surprises, possibilities, wish, or conditions, they are categorized into various groups.

Imperative Mood

'The imperative mood' is used to give orders, commands, or instructions. This mood is formed using the main verb in the imperative form, which is typically the bare infinitive (i.e., the infinitive without 'to') used at the beginning of a sentence.
Imperative verbs are categorized into two groups based on whether the command is to do or not to do the action:

  1. Affirmative imperative
  2. Negative imperative

To form a negative command in the imperative mood, the auxiliary verb 'do' is followed by the word 'not' before the bare infinitive.

Don't talk to me!

Repeat after me!

'The imperative mood' usually does not include a subject at the beginning, but the subject is always the pronoun 'you' that can be hidden or not.

(You) slow down!

(You) submit your homework, now!

Declarative Mood

Declarative mood describes the type of sentence that makes a statement or declaration or provides information about something. In other words, a declarative sentence is a sentence that declares or asserts a fact, opinion, or idea. Sentences in declarative mood typically begin with a subject followed by a verb, although other word orders are possible too.
There are two kinds of declarative moods in English:

  1. Affirmative declarative mood
  2. Negative declarative mood

She lives in Torino.

Simon doesn't eat sea food.

Interrogative Mood

'The interrogative mood' is used to ask questions. In other words, an interrogative sentence is a sentence that seeks information or clarification. There are two kinds of interrogative questions:

Obviously, a question mark is used at the end of interrogative sentences. Take a look at some examples:

Are you coming?

What is your name?

a sentence in the declarative mood

Exclamatory Mood

'The exclamatory mood' describes a strong emotion or surprise. An exclamatory sentence is a sentence that conveys excitement, admiration, fear, anger, or any other intense feeling. Exclamatory mood is identified by the use of exclamation mark at the end of the sentence, as any verb can be used in the exclamatory mood.

She actually has lost the keys!

You were meant to be here on the best day of my life!

Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood is used to describe situations that are hypothetical, contrary to fact, or uncertain, unlike the declarative mood. It is often used to express wishes, opinions, obligations, emotions, and other non-realistic scenarios. The key feature of the subjunctive mood is that it is used to refer to events that may not have occurred yet or are unlikely to occur.

I wish I could buy another house.

In this example, the speaker is talking about something that they cannot afford yet.

She doubts she can make it.

The subjunctive mood is mostly used in:

Lee would cry if she knew the truth.

I suggest that he cook for us.

Here, the main verb stays the same as a bare infinitive even for a third person singular pronoun.

Conditional Mood

The conditional mood is used to express events or actions that are dependent on a certain condition or circumstance, and may or may not happen. It is often used to express a hypothetical situation, a possibility, or a conjecture.

If you were me, you would kill him.

If you boil the egg, it gets solid over a short time.

There are five types of conditional moods in English:

Zero conditional

Zero conditional mood expresses a general truth or fact, and implies that a particular action or result will always follow a certain condition.
The zero conditional is typically formed using the present tense in both clauses of the sentence, with the word 'if' introducing the condition. For example:

If you boil eggs, they get solid in a short time.

He cries if you hurt him.

First Conditional

'The first conditional mood' refers to a future event that is likely to happen if a specific condition is met. The conditional clause expresses this condition, and is often introduced with the word 'if'. The first conditional mood is used to express a possible or probable future outcome, based on a particular condition being fulfilled. Check out the examples:

I will pick up John if you are busy.

If you take it easy, it will be easier to find solutions.

Second Conditional

'The Second conditional' refers to a hypothetical situation that is unlikely or impossible to happen in the present or future. It is often used to express a situation that could have happened differently, or to make a suggestion, or express a wish that is unlikely to be fulfilled. The second conditional is usually formed using the past tense in the conditional clause and the modal verb 'would' in the main clause. Pay attention to the examples:

If I were you, I would tell the truth to my boss.

I would do anything for her if she just chose me over him.

Third Conditional

The third conditional refers to a hypothetical situation or event that did not happen in the past, and is used to express a regret or a missed opportunity. It is often used to imagine what could have happened differently in the past if circumstances had been different.
The third conditional is usually formed using the past perfect tense in the conditional clause and the modal verb 'would have' in the main clause. Here are some examples.

If I __had watched__ the movie, we __would have__ been able to talk over something mutual.

She __would have__ called me if you hadn't lied to her.

Mixed Conditional

The mixed conditional is a type of conditional sentence that combines elements of the second and third conditional moods. It is used to express a hypothetical or unreal situation in the present or future that is linked to a past event or condition. In a mixed conditional sentence, one clause typically uses the past tense, while the other clause uses the present or future tense. Here are the examples:

If I hadn't been married to Sam, I wouldn't be this happy now.

If I __had studied__ harder in school, I __would be__ working in a better job now.


The state or form of a particular verb is described by a mood. There are six different moods in English as follows.

  • imperative mood
  • declarative (indicative) mood
  • interrogative mood
  • exclamatory mood
  • subjunctive mood
  • conditional mood


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Declarative Mood

There are different types of moods in English. Each shows a special manner toward the subject. In this article, we will focus on the declarative mood.

Imperative Mood

If you're wondering what the word 'imperative' means, in grammar, imperatives are verbs that are used to tell somebody what to do or not to do.

Subjunctive Mood

Subjunctive is a form or mood of verbs that helps us talk about wishes, possibility or uncertainty. To learn about this mood, start reading this article.

Interrogative Mood

Interrogative mood is a form of verb that is used to ask questions. Now if you want to learn how to make questions correctly, read this article.

Exclamatory Mood

There are six moods in English grammar. In this article, we will focus on the exclamatory mood. Exclamatives are moods of feelings.

Conditional Mood

Have you ever thought about something that might have happened if there was a different situation in the past? Conditionals help us talk about possibilities.

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