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Verb: the Category of Mood
The category of Mood is the most controversial category of the verb.
B.A. Ilyish: " The category of mood in the present English verb has
given rise to so many discussions, and has been treated in so many
different ways, that it seems hardly possible to arrive at any more less
convincing and universally acceptable conclusion concerning it."
Among the scholars to be named in the first place in relation to the
problem are A.I. Smirnitsky, whose theories revolutionized the
presentation of English verbal grammar; then B.A. Ilyish , a linguist
who made a great contribution to the general problem of mood; then Y.N.
Vorontsova; Z.S. Khlebnikova.
The category of Mood expresses the relations between the action, denoted
by the verb, and the actual reality from the point of view of the
speaker. The speaker may treat the action/event as real, unreal or
problematic or as fact that really happened, happens or will happen, or
as an imaginary phenomenon.
It follows from this that the category of Mood may be presented by the
obligue mood - direct mood
= unreality = reality.
The former is the strong member.
The latter is the weak member.
Mood relates the verbal action to such conditions as certainty,
obligation, necessity, possibility.
The most disputable question in the category of mood is the problem of
number and types of Obligue Moods. Obligue Moods denote unreal or
problematic actions so they can't be modified by the category of tense
proper. They denote only relative time, that is simultaneousness or
priority. Due to the variety of forms it's impossible to make up regular
paradigms of Obligue Moods and so classify them.
Some authors pay more attention to the plane of expression, other to the
plane of content. So different authors speak of different number and
types of moods. The most popular in Grammar has become the system of
moods put forward By Prof. Smirnitsky. He speaks of 6 mood forms:
The Indicative Mood
The Imperative Mood
The Conditional Mood
The Suppositional Mood
Subjunctive I expresses a problematic action. Subjunctive I is used in
American English and in newspaper style. Subjunctive I coincides with
the Infinitive without the particle to. Ex.: Ring me up if he would
This mood is expressed in English to a very minor extent (e.g.: So be it
then!). It is only used in certain set expressions, which have to be
learned as wholes:
Come what may, we will go ahead.
God save the Queen!
Suffice it to say that...
Be that as it may...
Heaven forbid that...
So be it then.
Long live the King!
Grammar be hanged!
This Mood is also used in that clauses, when the main clause contains an
expression of recommendation, resolution, demand, etc. The use of this
subjunctive I occurs chiefly in formal style (and especially in Am E)
where in less other devices, such as to - infinitive or should =
It is necessary that he be there.
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