Subjunctive Mood

Mood, in grammatical terms denote the approach or the attitude with which the sentence is presented. There are basically three kinds of Mood:

1. Indicative: This indicates all factual statements and comprises within its network the maximum range of English sentences.

2. Imperative: This indicates to the usage of commands, orders, advices or instructions.

3. Subjunctive: A Verb in the Subjunctive Mood is used to indicate a situation or condition that is wishful, speculative in nature, conditional or hypothetical.

Today, we shall be discussing Subjunctive Mood.


1. If I were you, I would have advised for a stronger line of action. (Hypothetical)

2. I wish that the day was longer. (Wishful)

3. If I go to the party, I would take you along. (Conditional).

4. If the odds are in our favour, we might still be able to finish the project on time. (Speculative)

In formal writings there are quite a few Subjunctive phrases that are often brought into use.

1. “If I were you, …..”

2. “If need be, ……”

3. “Be that as it may, ……”

4. “God bless you .”

5. “Far be it from me, …”


Types of Subjunctive Mood:

1. Present Subjunctive Mood

In Present Subjunctive Mood sentences, the verb is always in singular and present for, regardless of the Subject being either Singular / plural and the tense being either / Past / Future.

Thus for all verbs using the other forms of be such as is, are, was were, will be, the subjunctive Mood verb shall of the form ‘be’.


The two ways in which Present Subjunctive Mood sentences are formed are:

While expressing a hope, a wish or a cause in formal structure:


· Long live the King.

· May God bless you!

· May you have a blessed life!

· Stay blessed!

· Be accursed!


In a Noun Clause, indicating desire, a recommendation, a request, a promise or an intention.

· The public demanded that the current government be dissolved in response to the charges of corruption.

· The Court ordered that the case be dismissed without any further delay, an immediate basis.

· The police informer was willing to divulge details of the operation on condition that his identity be kept confidential.

· I recommend that you start eating four soaked almonds every morning.


2. Past Subjunctive Mood

The grammatical conjugation for Past Subjunctive mood sentences shall be : ‘I were’, “ You were”, “ He were”, “They were”.

a. To express a wish

· I wish I were the President of United States.

· How I wish I met my grandfather once.

b. To express a statement which is hypothetical

· If the day were to be more than 24 hours, we would accomplish many more things.

· If we could travel in a space shuttle, we could reach our destinations faster.

c. Sentences using “as if” / ‘as though’

· You are trying to order me as if I were your wife.

· You splurge money as if you have won a lottery.

d. Sentence using the phrase ‘it is time’

· It is time we left for the party.

· It is time we did something about it.

e. In sentences using the phrase “I would rather” / “he would rather”, suggesting preference.

· I would rather you took up the leadership mantle.

· His mother would rather he stayed behind with her in his hometown.

English Grammar and Composition

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