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English Corner

Scientific English grammar and style   English Corner   Glossary of English grammar and style  

English Corner 13: moods of verbs

The moods of a verb add to the context of the words chosen and the commonly encountered are the Imperative (as expected from its imperial origin, a mood encountered in commands and orders), the Indicative (the most commonly used mood, naturally indicating factual statements encountered in statements and questions), the Conditional (as anticipated, setting forth conditions) and the Subjunctive (changing form in answering the conditions). The Conditional and subjunctive moods are used together in different clauses of Conditional statements that present Conditions, Ideas and Suppositions, whereas the Indicative and Conditional are used together in Conditions, Demands and Requests.

Imperative mood
Verbs in this mood are not declined by person or number, but are aimed at an unstated but assumed second person (reading the message); and can be considered with an imaginary and elided [you] before the statement.
It is usually come across as written by others in commands [Keep the culture room sterile. Smoke only in the ventilated area] and advice [Do not go into the culture room when the UV light is on. Do not eat or drink in the laboratory].
It is used for setting down instructions [Attach the syringe to the cannula, insert the bevelled end into the severed vas deferens and tie it in place] and methods [Weigh out 2 g NaCl, dissolve it in 50 ml water, mix well and measure the pH].

Indicative mood
Most simple sentences contain verbs in the indicative mood. All the verbs in the Unconditional sentences here are in the indicative mood.
    [As scrotal temperature is 34°C the effects of temperature on sperm function were examined in this report. A medium containing 15 mM inositol was prepared in BWW and the sperm suspension was incubated for 10 min at temperatures ranging from 30 to 37 °C. High incubation temperature reduced the motility of spermatozoa. Fig 1 shows that above 35°C there was a sharp decline in forward progression. The effect of temperature regulation on volume regulation by spermatozoa will be examined. This work has shown that sperm motility is affected by temperature. This word was funded by Contraceptives Anonymous].

The Indicative mood is used by verbs in both the [Main, consequence, results] clause and the (Subordinate, conditional) clause. In Conditional sentences that are Factual (likely to be true).
In statements shown to be true
(We have demonstrated that) [the enzyme acts as a true ROS scavenger].
(We have determined that) [the changes in movement pattern are associated with chemotaxis].
(The increase in sperm volume indicates that) [potassium-sensitive channels are involved in volume regulation].
(Recent results reveal that) [the protein mediates a specific stage of fertilisation].
(If she uses that culture medium) [the cells will die].
In statements thought to be true
(It has been assumed that) [oxidation of sperm DNA explains the genetic abnormalities in the offspring].
(It is believed that) [hypoxic conditions induce upregulation of glycolytic enzymes].
(It has been proposed that) [this enzyme variant uses protamine cysteine residues as substrate].
(We speculate that) [the enzyme acts as a true ROS scavenger].
(These results suggest that) [ROS production is related to capacitation].
(The data support the idea that) [these different biological roles reside in different protein domains].
In statements that may be true
(If she took that plane) [she arrived at 22.00].
(If she takes that plane) [she will arrive in the morning].

Conditional and Subjunctive moods together
The Subjunctive is used by verbs in the (Subordinate, conditional) clause, and the Conditional is used by verbs in the [Main, consequence, results] clause of In Conditional sentences that are Counterfactual (unlikely to be true)
In statements that may be true
(If I were honest) [he would fail the examine].
(If he were alive) [he would be very old].
(If he should have done that) [they would have helped him].
In statements that are not true
(If I were Director) [I could hire you].
(If he were to apply) [they should accept him].
(If it were possible) [I would attend].
In statements that cannot be true
(If Darwin were alive) [he could explain it in more detail].
(If I were you) [I would apply for the position immediately].

Indicative and Subjunctive moods together
The Indicative is used for verbs in the [Main, consequence, results] clause, and the Subjunctive is used by verbs in the (Subordinate, conditional) clause, in particular Conditional sentences comprising
Conditions [She is allowed in the culture room] (on condition that she wear a mask).
Demands [He demanded that] (she recognise his rights).
Requests [The librarian requested that] (he keep quiet).

By Dr Trevor G Cooper (ctrevorg@gmail.com)

 
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