Verbs have three moods. Over the last two days I have covered the indicative and imperative moods; today I am going to blog about the subjunctive mood (the mood being the form that the verb takes and how it is meant to be understood by the reader).
The subjunctive mood is used for situations that are uncertain and isn’t so widely used. The example that Bernard C Lamb gives in his book The Queen’s English is the poem ‘Mid-Winter’ by Christina Rossetti which starts with the subjunctive line of :
“If I were a shepherd.
I would bring a lamb…”
If it had read “I was a shepherd…” it would have shown an indicative mood, but in this case the word if conveys a wish or an uncertainty.
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Bernard C. Lamb The Queen’s English (2010), UK
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