subjunctive mood

Functions of the subjunctive mood in three languages


Language is a method of communication that helps the people in the communication. It is a kind of system that contains the development, acquisition and maintenance of the words. However, on the earth, there are thousands of languages are spoken by the people. On the other hand, mood is kind of verb that determines how it is to be regarded. A mood presents the grammatical term that is useful to classify the verb tenses. In the English, there are three kind of mood such as indicative mood, imperative mood and subjunctive mood. In this, indicative mood is about that facts and or asks questions (Bonilla, 2015). For example, are they eating burger? Beside of this, imperative mood is using to show the command or a request. For instance, please close the door. Furthermore, subjunctive mood depicts that a wish or doubt. For instance, Roy suggests that John read the book, Roy say that John will be asked to read the book and if I have money, I will purchase this car. In this way, this essay aims to discuss the functions of the subjunctive mood in the three languages that are French, Spanish and English. So, there are different ways to express the opinions, views and emotions that create variations in the languages. This essay also focuses on the variations in the functions of subjunctive mood in different languages. This essay is important to enhance the knowledge of the subjunctive mood as well as it also depicts its importance.

Functions of Subjunctive Mood in Spanish

In the Spanish language, Subjunctive mood is an essential mood similar to others kind of moods such as indicative and imperative. In this, it is defined as the grammatical term that it is a significant term that is helpful in the categorize verb tenses. It is also used as more often in the Spanish language then the English. Typical, there are two tenses such as present and perfect. It is also represents the various aspects such as wish, hope, or doubt. At the same time, it is also represents the essential obligations (Morgan et al.2013). The subjunctive mood is used more in Spanish language than English. Simple tenses like present and past tenses and compound tenses like present perfect and pluperfect are mainly used in this language. With the help of these tenses, different concepts like doubt, hope, wish, and obligations are presented in Spanish language. After expressions of will, desires and orders, the subjunctive is employed in dependent clauses, in which two subjects in two clauses are linked through the use of conjunction que. Apart from this, emotions and reactions are also presented through subjunctive (Montrul and Perpiñán, 2011). The common structure for presenting expressing emotions and reactions like annoyance, delight, surprise, sad and fair, etc. is es + adjective + que. In addition, negative opinions and doubt like not think, doubt, not believe, etc. are expressed by using subjunctive in dependent clauses. The subordinating conjunction que is used to link two clauses.

In the Spanish language, the subjunctive mood has an effective attention as the traditional manner as well as the theoretical linguistic literature. The selection of the mood is not easy process in the language. It means that the selection of the mood is too complex for the user. It is because there are many factors that affect the section of mood including the semantic and pragmatic factors. The research study conducted by Bosque (2012) determines the new semantic of the predicates which are selected as the subjunctive mood in the Spanish. It has been proposed that in the context of the complement clauses, the following are generalization. A proposition p that is known as the matrix complements that need by the mood of subjunctive and ordinary system is also introduced in this. In this reference of this generalization captures, it is found whether it is alternative of the distribution of the subjunctive mood.

In the same concern of this, in the Spanish language, it can be identified that what is main issue role subjunctive mood in the structure of the sentence. In the context of this, various researchers have completed study. In this, the main concern of the researchers has been on providing the set of the feature that determine the characteristics of subjunctive mood (Gudmestad, 2012). The investigation of what the subjunctive mood contributes to the meaning composition. It is helpful in developing the understanding of the sentence that has the specific mean. At the same time, it is also strong assumption that the selection of the subjective mood is covered for the specific operation. The parameters of the subjunctive mood are used in the evaluation of the alternative way of the operation. Subjunctive mood provides the licence in the reference of the sensitive operation. It is beneficial for the user as it provides the opportunity in the reference of subjunctive mood appears. Along with this, subjunctive mood is also reason of the triggered under question and negation (Farahani and Sarkhosh, 2012).

It is evaluated in the research finding of Godard (2012), negation can be measured as thee sensitive operator. It is also proposed in the context of the negation that subjunctive mood morpheme plays the effective role in measuring the alternative of the negation operation.  At the same time, it is also proposed that in the reference of Q that the value of the alternative semantic is 70 to represent the sentence in the question denotation. Furthermore, it is found that question operator is based on the sensitive operator. In this manner, subjunctive mood morpheme has same importance as the other parameters. Namely it measures the contextual option in the regard of the focus sensitive operator (Giannakidou, 2011).

At the last, it can be said that there are two important properties of the predicates that select the flow of the way in developing the proposal. Functions concern on the sensitivity and gradable of verb. These predicates focus sensitivity follows directly from the fact that they are being identified analogous for focusing on the sensitive operators like the above function. It’s grad-ability is followed from the fact that it is being identified as beginning of an ordering relation or scale (Yoon, 2011). The analysis has been revised accordingly in the final proposal, predicates that has chosen the subjunctive mood takes an extra argument degree by presenting the empirical evidence for the comparative semantics. Hence, parallelism has been pointed out with this final proposal among the semantics of predicates that use to choose the subjunctive mood. It also includes what has been proposed for the gradable semantics adjective in the literature.

Functions of Subjunctive mood in French language

Subjunctive mood is defined as a grammatical term which helps in describing the subject’s attitude. In other words, Gudmestad (2012) stated that subjunctive is a mood which helps in expressing wish, fear, hope, uncertainty and inner feeling and attitude towards the fact and idea. The Subjunctive is a mood with special verb form which is used in dependent clauses in order to indicate some sort of subjectivity, unreality and uncertainty in the minds of the speaker and reader. Yoon (2011) clearly explained that in French, feelings like doubt or desire require the subjunctive in terms of expressions of necessity, possibility and judgment.

In French language, Subjunctive mood is memorized in irregular subjunctive forms, by concentrating on common verbs.  In addition to this, Giannakidou (2011) also demonstrated that in English language, subjunctive is rare but in French language, subjunctive is quite common. But at the same time, in French, subjunctive mood is used for present rather than using for future because subjunctive situations are set according to the future. In subjunctive mood of French, there are different forms of clauses such as qui, two subjects, possibilities, opinions, emotions, feelings, doubts, conjunctions, etc.

In support to this, before using subjunctive mood, there is a need to use two additional conditions to be met. Que is a subjunctive mood which reflects the expression in the main clause and that must end up with relative pronoun qui. But if expression ends with de then it is needed to use the infinitive. For example, Il est important que tu fasses tes devoirs is related to relative pronoun whereas Il est important de faire tes devoirs is related to preposition (Gudmestad, 2012). On the other hand, subjects of main clause and dependent clause must be different but is they are found to be same then in that case infinitive word are used. For instance, je veux que tu ailles a la banque is representing future subjunctive which is set for future but Je veux aller a la banque is representing a present subjunctive mood.

In the research study of Montrul (2011), it is clearly stated that there are numbers of emotions, expressions, verbs, conjunctions which calls for the subjunctive mood and also it is found helpful in dividing them according to the themes. In oppose to it, Bonilla (2015) also depicted that there are following verbs and expressions which don’t take subjunctive into consideration while using affirmative because French language uses or expresses the fact which are found to be certain in the minds of the speaker. The use of French subjunctive verbs introduces negative because the chance of becoming reality expression and action is relatively low.

Currently, in French, subjunctive form serves different purposes and competes with each other rarely. The function of subjunctive mood provides contribution to language learning and teaching in different manner and form. In research hypothesis of Godard (2012), it is elaborated that data on the subjunctive mood are easily available as well as small corpora are provided in rich source of natural occurrence. However, the French subjunctive work in similar manner whenever any possibility or doubt is expressed for that le subjunctive is required. On the other hand, the distribution of two subjunctive moods in French is not enough to describe the semantic-pragmatic conditions by motivating the mood occurrence.

In concern to this, there is one of the properties under these two different conditions which are met precisely as a complementary distribution. But, Farahani and Sarkhosh (2012) determined that if complementary clause of these predicates meets to both two conditions then it is expected that they are compatible with both needs. However, it is important to add the rule for the distribution of booth the moods for which they required subjunctive mood in the complement clause in French. In addition to this, it is also studied that motivation of two moods can be same in two different languages and the rule are distributed in different manner between them.

For dealing with the generalization of subjunctive, there is high need to add different principles of distribution moods under semantico-pragmatic conditions. However, the solution to add principles is insufficient and less efficient for undertaking into account the smaller lexical contrasts with a varied predicates & polarity mood. Additionally, it also observed that there are such cases where indicative occurs even though conditions are not met. Thus, by maintaining a good generalization, subjunctive moods are allowed in some special cases only as they only defines the preferences rather than clearing the rule (Gudmestad, 2012). The alteration of the moods is highly related to polarity environments which are understood in case of partial grammaticalization. Thus, this one of the mood helps in motivating while other has become the property of sub categorization.

Moreover, there are two different situations which are describes as sentimental complement and certain complement which is related to verb. The grammaticalization is related to alteration between the indicative and subjunctive and this is also associated with desemanticization where it freezes a relation of mood in form of complement. In few cases, grammaticalization results into extending use of the subjunctive by favoring its disappearance but in other cases, mood appears in the declarative and positive clause which is frozen and this result into unidirectional (Giannakidou, 2015). However, this situation shares two different properties with usual instances in grammerticalization i.e., desemanticization and unidirectionality. The alteration between subjunctive and indicative is the complement clause under complementary French language which defines one phenomenon that reflects the grammatical system in which preferences are allowed. In simple words, the use of subjunctive in standard French is alive but there are some factors which are affecting the semantic-pragmatic motivation.

The subjunctive mood is not related to tense as it is more related to a mood of expressions, action, feeling, etc and it can be used in large variety of situations. Generally, subjunctive mood follows a verbs, expressions to convey the feeling i.e., aimer, souhaiter and vouloir.

At the same time, the function of subjunctive mood French language is very high as subjunctive follows adjectives like content, bien, dommage & ravi, etc are also used for expressing different moods of expression, emotions or opinions towards the action. In similar manner, imperative expressions are also used as subjunctive mood function as well as it mostly follows the que to express opinion or emotions (Farahani and Sarkhosh, 2012). On the other side, the other function for which subjunctive mood is used in French language is conjugating the subjunctive. For conjugating the phrase into subjunctive is quite easier, rather than actual deciding which subjunctive need to be use.

Functions of Subjunctive mood in English language  

Grimm (2015) stated in English, subjunctive mood is used to form sentences which describe the state of mind like opinion, purpose, belief and intention but don’t describe the known facts. In English language, there are three different types of grammatical moods such as indicative, imperative and subjunctive mood. In grammatical mood, it is defined that a set of distinctive verb forms mostly expresses the modality (subjective attitude) in terms of possibility, probability, necessity, obligation, desire, etc. (Morgan et al. 2013). Under subjunctive mood, verb often looks identical in contrast to indicative mood form and thus this reflects that subjunctive are not easily visible in grammatical quality of modern English.

In English, the subjunctive mood is fairly uncommon as compared to other languages such as French and Spanish. The reasons is that majority of the functions of the subjunctive mood are considered through the use of modal verbs like might, could, and should. There is less difference between subjunctive and indicative mood in English. In modern English, the subjunctive mood is present but it is considered in different perspectives as optional (Montrul and Perpiñán, 2011). It is used to convey the formal tone but few people consider that it is not present, which is not right. It is present in fixed expressions.

In addition, Gudmestad (2012) also demonstrated that the only distinctive subjunctive form is actually found in singular present tense in which subjunctive avoid for using -s ending in a English sentences. In English language, the subjunctive mood is used for exploring conditional and imaginary situations. The use of subjunctive mood in the English language is quite tricky to use partially by taking care is English while speaking. At the same time, the use of this mood helps in exploring the conditions which are dissimilar to facts and findings (Montrul, 2011). However, it also to explore hypothetical thinking and to express wishes, command & demands efficiently. Usually, subjunctive mood differs in different expressions like while wishing, demanding or suggesting, indicative verbs are used and can be change but if were, implement and leave imaginary actions are used then that would not change.

In the research study of Godard (2012), it is studied that subjunctive mood expresses commands, doubts, guesses, purposes, requests and wishes, etc are contrast with the facts while expressing. The English language is different from Indo-European language in which subjunctive verbs are closely similar to indicative mood. In subjunctive mood, if-clause mostly appears often as it is following certain phrases and verbs by expressing the possibility, necessity & contingency. While studying, it is also found that main difference between subjunctive if-clause and indicative if-clause is because subject and verb are reverse in subjunctive if-clause. The subjunctive mood declines some verb forms in modern English language like in contingency expression. For example, if I was a wealthy girl is a contingency express.

In English language, present and past subjunctive forms are often similar to past and present indicative forms. In simple terms, the use of present and past subjunctive forms is not limited to present and past time referring. However, this subjunctive form can equally and well used by sentences by referring past, present and future by expressing the verb in the main clause. In addition to this, Farahani and Sarkhosh (2012) explained that subjunctive mood also expresses the demand and recommendation by following that in certainty and under uncertainty, it follows whether and if.

In the reference of English language, it has been analyzed that historical change has more or less eliminated mood from the English system that is inflectional. It includes past subjunctive limited to 1st/3rd person singular such as were thus, it is usually replaceable by the analytical past form was. Moreover, due to the inflections loss there is an emergence of periphrastic forms that is accounted for the decrease of the subjunctive. Thus, English in the current days is analytic rather than inflectional and it is marked by the auxiliary’s model. Additionally, there are various changes in the subjunctive forms, there have not been various in its usage (Giannakidou, 2015). In the above discussion it can be seen that subjunctive has been noticeable for modality, unreality, expressing doubt, wishes and commands. It was the mood chosen by certain conjunctions like if, though, unless, whether, least and that. Hence, in the present English use of conjunctive functions is being reduced. In old as well as middle English the subjunctive in the present is being used in the mandative construction in an clause objective introduced by that, usually in an American English. Thus, it is not being used after mental verbs and desire of expression.

It is one of the most effective and useable ways that is used by the person to express a wish and feeling that is why it is also considered as a verb also. There are different countries that have different types of languages but at the same time, English is one of the most common languages that are widely used by the people across the world (Grimm, 2015). There are different examples of subjunctive mood in English such as be, is, was, etc that are being used for better conversation.  In the subjective mood in English, there is a vital role of the formulaic subjunctive and the mandative subjunctive that are patterns that are used widely. In the research findings of (Bosque, 2012), it is determined that for better English and the to improve the subjunctive mood in English, there is a vital role of the adjectives, noun, pronoun, etc that are highly recommended and used for better English conversation.  There are different authors that provided different definitions on the subjunctive mood in English. They stated that the role of adjectives, verbs, etc is quite different in different countries like in India, proper use of adjectives, verbs, etc don’t matter, while in USA, UK, etc. It is quite different (Gudmestad, 2012). It is because the consideration of these aspects is quite vital. It is because in the absence of these all aspects, the pronunciation of sentence make wrong mean and affect the communication as well. Because of this, it can be determined that there are different aspects that play a major role in subjunctive mood in English (Godard, 2012).


From above discussion, it is found that there are three major par moods that are known as the indicative mood, imperative mood and subjunctive mood. In this, indicative mood is about that facts and or asks questions. Beside of this, imperative mood is using to show the command or a request. Furthermore, it is also summarised that subjunctive mood depicts that a wish or doubt.  It can be said that subjunctive mood is one of the significant kind of the mode. It has significant importance in the each language. In the context of Spanish language, it is found that the subjunctive mood has an effective attention as the traditional manner as well as the theoretical linguistic literature.  On the basis of the above discussion, it can also identify that there are significant differences in functions of the subjunctive mood in different languages including French, Spanish and English.  It also discusses that subjunctive mood is not easy process in this language. It means that the selection of the mood is too complex for the user. It is because there are many factors that affect the section of mood including the semantic and pragmatic factors. On the other hand, in the subjective mood in English, there is a vital role of the formulaic subjunctive and the mandative subjunctive that are patterns that are used widely.


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Farahani, A.K. and Sarkhosh, M., (2012) Do Different Textual Enhancement Formats Have Differential Effects on the Intake of English Subjunctive Mood?. Theory and Practice in Language Studies2(4), p.688.

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Yoon, S. (2011) Rhetorical comparatives: Polarity items, expletive negation, and subjunctive mood. Journal of Pragmatics, 43(7), pp.2012-2033.

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