Verb Mood

French verb mood
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Les modes du verbe

Verb mood is all about the ‘tude; that is, the speaker’s attitude about the verb, whether it’s a fact, an opinion, a command, or a possibility.

French has a total of six verb moods: four personal and two impersonal.

Personal moods – Modes personnels

Personal moods have a different conjugation for each grammatical person (subject).

Conditionnel tu serais Conditional you would be Condition or possibility
Impératif sois Imperative be Command
Indicatif tu es Indicative you are Indication of a fact – the most common, "normal" mood*
Subjonctif que tu sois Subjunctive that you be Subjectivity, doubt, or impossibility

Impersonal moods – Modes impersonnels

Grammatically speaking, impersonal means unrelated to a subject: there is only one form of the verb for all grammatical persons.

Infinitif être Infinitive to be Nominal verb form – the name of the verb as well as its noun form
Participe étant Participle being Adjectival verb form

  Mood vs Tense

Mood is about attitude, Tense is about time.

  • There are three Tenses: present, past, and future, so these tell you when something happens.
  • In comparison, Mood indicates how the speaker feels about what’s happening: is it a fact? a supposition? a command? a possibility?

Every verb form has Tense and Mood – they work together, as you can see in my French verb timeline.

  * Hint: when the mood is not stated explicitly, for example passé composé, it’s the indicative mood.

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French verb mood

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