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MOOD


It is a well-known fact that the problem of the category of mood, i. e. the distinction between the real and the unreal expressed by the corresponding forms of the verb, is one of the most controversial problems of English theoretical grammar.
The main theoretical difficulty is due (1) to the coexistence in Modern English of both synthetical and analytical forms of the verb with the same grammatical meaning of irreality and (2) to the fact that there are verbal forms homonymous with the Past Indefinite and Past Perfect of the Indicative Mood which are employed to express irreality. Another difficulty consists in distinguishing the analytical forms of the Subjunctive with the auxiliaries should, would, may (might), which are devoid of any lexical meaning, from the homonymous verb groups in which these verbs have preserved their lexical meaning.
The number of moods in English is also one of the still unsettled problems. Older prescriptive grammar, besides the three commonly known moods, recognised a fourth —the Infinitive Mood. Many authors of English scientific grammars divide the Subjunctive Mood into several moods, such as the Subjunctive proper (expressed by the synthetic forms), the Conditional Mood (expressed by the combinations of should and would plus infinitive in the principal clause), the Permissive and Compulsive Moods (expressed by the combinations of the infinitive with other modal verbs: see the selections from Sweet's grammar). The notion of the
1 See: А. А. Шахматов. Синтаксис русского языка. Л., 1941, pp. 233—234.
107Conditional Mood has become quite popular with some Soviet grammarians who sometimes add two more "Oblique" Moods, the Suppositional and Subjunctive II, the principle of division being based on the tendency to ascribe to each of the forms of the subjunctive a specific grammatical meaning.
Mood, closely related to the problem of modality, is generally defined as a grammatical category expressing the relation of the action to reality as stated by the speaker. The distinction between the real and the unreal, expressed by the corresponding forms of the verb, is one of the disputable problems of English grammar.
The analysis of the category made by some grammarians is based largely on the historical and comparative considerations and often worked out along notional lines.
Thus, for instance, M. Deutschbein in his System der neuenglischen Syntax distinguishes 4 main moods: der Rogitativus, der Оptatіvus, der Voluntativus, der Expectativus. As submoods he mentions: der Indikativus, der Irrealіs, der Pоtentіalіs, der Konzessivus, der Nezessarius, der Permissivus, der Dubitativus, etc.
We could probably tabulate even a more detailed, if not exhaustive, scheme of all the varieties of subjective modality in English. Such a scheme would be based on the attitudes of the speaker's mind, i. e. on the fact that the contents of the communication can be related modally to the subject as, for instance, asserted (Indicative Mood); as intensifying the assertion (Emphatic Mood); as compelled (Compulsive Mood); as permitted (Permissive Mood); as desired (Optative Mood), as ability (Potential Mood), etc., etc.
But such a tabulated survey would, indeed, become too complicated.
Grammarians are not agreed as to the forms of the Subjunctive Mood. Some of them recognise only synthetic forms (O. Jespersen, for instance), others include here also verb-phrases of analytical structure with all modal verbs.
O. Jespersen criticises M. Deutschbein pointing out that it would be possible to subdivide the given scheme further into two groups: the first with 11 moods, containing an element of will, the second with 9 moods, containing no element of will. There are indeed many "moods" if one leaves the safe ground of verbal forms actually found in a language.
The most common view is that in Modern English there are three moods, Indicative, Subjunctive and Imperative which keep distinct in English in the same clear way as in many other languages.
The forms comprised in the Indicative Mood are used to present predication as reality, as a fact. The predication need not necessarily be true but the speaker presents it as being so. It is not relevant for the purpose of our grammatical analysis to account for the ultimate truth or untruth of a statement with its predicate expressed by a verb. This cannot affect the meaning of the grammatical form as such. In terms of grammar, it is important to identify the function of the category in the given utterance.
108The Imperative, like the Indicative, has the same form as the base of the verb; the same is true of the Present Indicative (except the third person singular) and of the whole of the Present Subjunctive. These forms will exemplify paradigmatic homonymy in English morphology.
The Imperative Mood serves to express requests which in different contexts may range from categorical order or command to entreaties. The necessary meaning is generally signalled by the context and intonation. The Imperative Mood proper is used only in the second persons singular and plural. This form is used in address to one or more persons, ordering or instructing them to carry out the "action" of the verb.
The grammatical subject of the Imperative Mood is not formally indicated but, when occasion demands, this is generally done by using the pronoun before or after the verb. Verb-patterns with pronouns have special affective connotation with fine shades of emotional distinctions, such as: intensity or emphasis, anger, annoyance, impatience or scorn, etc.: (1) She has been quite a success, and don't you forget it! (2) You sit still over there! (3) Come along everybody. (4) Don't you go telling Mother about it! (5) And don't you be forgetting about it.
Patterns with the appended will you express a less categorical command, sometimes a request. A request or invitation may be formulated with won't you.
Emphasis may be produced by putting the intensifying do. It is a colourful emphatic form, encouraging if the intonation pattern is a drop between level tones, exasperated if there is tone movement on the last syllable. The forms with let differ in their functions according to person, between almost purely hortatory in the first person plural (Let's begin now) and various shades of the permissive and optative in other persons, as in: Let her help you! Let him study regularly! Let them repeat the experiment!
In patterning the verb let seems to be rather on the borders of grammar and lexis; marginal as an operator, it can be followed by the infinitive, but negates by the use of don't and is followed by an object placed between it and the lexical verb, e. g.:
Oh, don't let's have it again! (Galsworthy)
The use of the auxiliary do in negative forms with the auxiliary verb let in colloquial English is not infrequent.
Considered in function, "mood" may cover various semantic spheres. Form and function, however, are not always clearly distinct. As we shall further see, the Indicative Mood may be transposed into the sphere of the Imperative, as in: You will leave this house at once... You will wait here, and you'll be careful!
The Imperative Mood may take over the function of the Subjunctive Mood, e. g.:
Say what you will, I shall have my own way. Say what you would, I should have my own way. Cf. Кажи що хочеш, я тобі не повірю.

109The formal mark of the Subjunctive is the absence of inflection for the third person singular except in the verb to be, where it has full conjugation. In point of fact, in Modern English the Subjunctive is almost out of use. The only regular survival of the "non-past" Subjunctive will be found in elevated prose, in slogans, in a number of standardised phrases, mostly of a formula character which function as sense-units and practically do not serve as substitution frames in the ordinary way of grammatical forms, e. g.: So be it. Long live peace and friendship among nations! Come what may! Be what may! Suffice it to say. In other sentence-patterns the non-past Subjunctive is optional and can alternate with the Indicative. This alternation however is not indifferent to style, the Subjunctive being decidedly more referential and more formal than the Indicative verb.
In the non-past Subjunctive is very seldom used, the Past Subjunctive is so much more restricted that in present-day English belongs only to the verb to be. The only Past Subjunctive form is were and even this is distinctive only in the first and third persons singular. We generally find it in patterns with subordinate clauses denoting either rejected hypothesis or unfulfilled wishes, e. g.: I wish I were a child. If I were you... As if he were with us.
Were can alternate with the Indicative verb-form. There is a growing tendency in Modern English to replace it by was, especially in non-formal style and in conversation. Compare:
Formal style Non-formal style
My father suggested that My father suggested that
my cousin stay with us. my cousin might stay with
If I were healthier, I us.
would travel more fre- If I was healthier, I
quently. would...
It is interesting to note that with the use of inversion for hypothesis the Subjunctive is obligatory. This is fairly common in formal referential English, e. g., Were he to come to-morrow we should invite him to the conference.
Mention should be made about a surprising reversion which has taken place during the last twenty years in the partial revival of specifically subjunctive forms of verbs. The Subjunctive Mood was used extensively in Old English, as in classical Latin and Modern German. As is known, since the Middle English period, however, it has been slowly dying out, its place being taken by compound verb-forms with auxiliaries (should, might, etc.). The only really firmly established subjunctive form surviving in English in the nineteen-thirties was were; it was (and still is normal for standard English to use were and not was in a "closed conditional clause", as in If he were here, we should certainly be able to see him (he is not here). There were other subjunctive survivals in sporadic use (as in if it be so), but these all sounded a trifle literary and affected. During and after the war, however, as Ch. Barber1 points out, subjunctive forms increased in frequency, especially in the written language; this seems to have begun in the language of administration, and spread
1 See: Ch. Barber. Linguistic Change in Present-Day English. 1964, p. 133.
110from there to the literary language. The forms used are third-person singular ones without inflexion, as in I insist that he do it; it was essential that he make a choice (where do is used instead of does or shall do, and make instead of should make). Sentences of this type (especially the first) are also sometimes heard in speech. It is extremely unlikely, however, that there is going to be any serious long-term revival of the subjunctive forms; the present development is probably only a passing tendency. If it has any long-term significance, this is likely to be not a revival of the subjunctive, but an eroding away of the third-singular inflexion; by accustoming people to forms like he do and he make these usages may prepare the way for the ultimate disappearance of he does and he makes. This, after all, would be the natural continuation of the historical process; in the present simple all inflexions, except the third singular -s, have been lost and it would be quite natural to expect the process to continue, to have only one form all through the tense (7 walk, you walk, he walk, we walk, they walk).
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Источник: N. M. RAYEVSKA. MODERN ENGLISH GRAMMAR. 1976 {original}

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