Grammar What Is the Indicative Mood in English Grammar? |
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What Is the Indicative Mood in English Grammar?

English grammar uses mood to establish how to regard a verb in a sentence, such as whether it is making a descriptive statement or expressing a wish or command. Verb mood differs from verb tense in that it more concerns the quality or form of the verb than it does when an action took place.

In this post we’ll further define the indicative mood, look at some examples, and even a contrast the indicative with the other English grammatical moods. Let’s get started!

The Three English Moods You Should Know (Indicative, Imperative, Subjunctive)

As we just touched on, mood refers to the intent behind a verb (an action word). The three moods in English are:

Indicative: verbs in sentences that include facts, statements, or questions

Imperative: verbs in sentences that include commands or requests

Subjective: verbs in sentences that include wishes, demands, or contrary-to-fact situations

Examples of the Indicative Mood

The indicative is by far the most common of the moods. It is used whenever you are giving a fact, asking a question, or making an ordinary statement. Here are a few sentences written in the indicative mood:

The sun rises in the east.

Is that dress black or navy blue?

You have excellent taste in shoes.

The verb in the first sentence states a fact, the verb in the second asks a question, and the verb in the third is a statement of opinion—i.e., each “indicates” something.

With the indicative mood defined, you can probably recognize verbs being used in it in just about everything you read and write during the day. For good measure, we’ll also briefly look at the other two moods so you understand the distinction among the moods even more.

Examples of the Imperative Mood

The imperative mood is used when you are making a direct command or request.


Give me that orange juice, please.

Join your teammates in the huddle.

Consider going with us to the game on Saturday.

You see how each sentence issues a command or request to someone else. You’ll typically recognize the imperative mood by how it starts the sentence with the base form of the verb and an understood but omitted you: (You) Give me that orange juice, please. The imperative isn’t as common as the indicative mood, but you will still read, write, and hear it often.

Examples of the Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood is typically the least common of the three moods. It is used for verbs that express a condition or scenario that is impossible or highly unlikely. It also appears in statements that include a wish, demand, suggestion, or recommendation.

You can often recognize the subjunctive mood by how it alters what we understand as proper verb conjugation.


Shawna insists they be ready at 5:00 p.m. (demand; conjugation changes from they are to they be)

If I were Superman, I would definitely challenge the Flash to a race. (impossible scenario; conjugation changes from I was to I were)

Her mother requested that she study more for the test. (request; conjugation changes from she studies to she study)

Now that we’ve reviewed the three main moods in English, you’ll be even more prepared to recognize and use them in your communication. You’re also equipped to make a splash in conversation by defining them all!

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