Saturday, October 20, 2012

31 Days: Day 20 — Moody little things, aren't they? (In which I cheat.)

As I was typing Day 20 in the title bar above, this thought popped into my head: Hey! We're in the double digits!

Then I realized we've been in the double digits for ten days already. My brain is still fuzzy. But hey, what's a little foggy thinking between friends?

Today we're going to talk about verb moods. Yes, there really is such a thing. And while I might be feeling a very little bit better tonight, I'm going to be lazy and link to two of my all-time favorite sites to explain the hard part. Why reinvent the wheel?

Basically, unlike teenage girls, verbs can have three moods:

1. Indicative, used for most statements and questions, is pretty straightforward and easy to understand.

I kick the dog. Bill drives the car. Do you want fries with that?

(In the question, the verb phrase is do want.)

2. Imperative, used to indicate a command, also isn't complicated.

Go to bed. Do your homework. Give me fries with that.

(In most cases, the subject in an imperative sentence is understood.)

3. Subjunctive, used to indicate wishful or hypothetical thinking, is a bit trickier. 

Subjunctive is used in if only and as if kinds of statements. Remember Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof? He used the subjunctive:

If I were a rich man,
Daidle deedle daidle
Daidle daidle deedle daidle dum
All day long I'd biddy-biddy-bum
If I were a wealthy man.

The Newsboys sing Dance like no one is lookin' when what they should say is Dance as if no one were looking. But I'm not going to be the one to break that bad news to them. They're filthy rich; they can pretty much do as they please.

But, if you want really good (and fun!) explanations of the subjunctive mood, or if you want to learn when to say I was and when to say I were, check out my two favorite grammar blogs on the subjunctive: Mignon Fogarty's Grammar Girl and The Snarky Student's Guide to Grammar

I realize this is cheating on my part, but the mystery illness may be losing just a teensy bit of a foothold, and I'm trying to give my body a fighting chance. I'm being lazy. I figure most people don't even know there is such a thing as verb moods, so if I bring it up and then point you in the right direction, I've done my part.

And I can go to bed. My family thanks you.


Be thankful ~

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