Using grammatical structures

Mood can be seen as setting the tone on a whole text level. On a more specific grammatical level, mood shows the speakers attitude towards something as a fact, command, wish, or uncertainty.

Effective use of manipulating verbs to show the mood brings the text to life and has a greater impact on the audience.


Explicit teaching

There are three types of grammatical moods:

  • indicative (statements and questions).
  • imperative (commands).
  • subjunctive (hypothetical, wish or doubt). The subjunctive involves use of auxiliaries such as could, may, should, might.

Provide students the opportunity to identity these different moods in the texts they read in class and the effect of each mood. Providing students with time to consciously develop different moods in their writing to align the use of this language device with their writing purpose.

Activities to support the strategy

Activity 1

Rearrange the sentence in the table below to change the different moods.

Example Indicative Imperative Subjunctive
1 "It is a sunny day". "Be a sunny day" "Could it be a sunny day".
2 (blank). "Go to your bedroom". (blank).
3 "Do you like pizza?" (blank). (blank).
4 (blank). (blank). "Being quiet in the library might help others to possibly read".
5 "Has she completed her work?". (blank). (blank).

Reflect on the effect of each mood: What feeling does each mood mainly create?

  • Indicative:
  • Imperative:
  • Subjunctive:

Activity 2

Ask two students to role play a dialogue while a third student identifies the type of sentences used (statements, questions, commands, hypotheticals) and their effect for the listener. Students then craft their sentences to achieve the desired effects e.g. to develop a character in a narrative or the influence a reader in a persuasive text.


Australian curriculum

ACELA1536: Expressing and developing ideas: Understand how modality is achieved through discriminating choices in modal verbs, adverbs, adjectives and nouns.

NSW syllabus

EN4-3B: uses and describes language forms, features and structures of texts appropriate to a range of purposes, audiences and contexts.

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