Verb: Category of Mood – Part 3

July 3rd, 20121:07 pm


Verb: Category of Mood – Part 3

Verb: Category of Mood
Verb: Category of Mood – Part 2

The Imperative Mood shows that the speaker induces somebody to perform an action. The action is presented not as a fact but as something desired. Consequently, the Imperative is opposed to the Indicative Mood se­mantically. The form of the Imperative is identical to the Infinitive without the particle to. The paradigm consists of the affirmative form (Jump) and the negative form (Don’t jump). The Imperative has no tense or aspectual forms, since the action is related to the moment of speaking and must be carried out either after the moment or later, which is usually indicated lexically (i.e. ad­verb with temporal meaning). Whether verbs in the Imperative Mood differ in person and number is under debate. The meaning of inducement presup­poses two participants – the speaker and his/her interlocutor, who is sub­ject to inducement. The grammatical subject of the Imperative Mood is not formally indicated but, when an 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.: Don’t you forget what has been done for you! You go and apologize! Patterns with the appended will you express a less categorical command, sometimes a request. A request or an invitation may be formulated with won’t you, whereas 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 majority of grammarians do not doubt the second person of the Imperative Mood. The discussion is spurred whether there is a form of the first person. To express inducement for the first person, the combination let + personal pronoun is used. Grammarians are inclined to treat this combi­nation as an analytical form of the Imperative Mood. The whole system of analytical forms in the English language encourages this point of view. An analytical form consists of two or more elements with no syntactic ties. The auxiliary verb in an analytical form may combine with any (or almost any) lexical units belonging to a certain class (verbs) and is deprived of any lexi­cal meaning. Tense forms are the best examples of analytical forms: here, the lexical meaning is expressed by the second part of the form (Participle or Infinitive), and the whole form has the meaning of tense and aspect.

Let us consider the combination “let+Infinitive” and determine whether it may be granted the status of an analytical form. In the sentence Let’s go to the disco, the lexical meaning of the verb let is so modified that the speaker includes himself/herself in the circle of people encouraged to perform an action. In the sentence Let me introduce you to Mr Smith, the verb let pre­serves its original meaning of permission, which bars us from considering it completely grammaticalized, i.e. an auxiliary verb. The majority of scholars believe that this verb is in process of changing into an auxiliary. If this form is not treated as first person form of the Imperative Mood, then the Impera­tive Mood is represented by the only second person form singular and plural and is not opposed to any other forms.

Morphological peculiarities of the Imperative Mood (i.e. absence of tense, aspect, person and number categories) give rise to suggestions that the Imperative should be identified with the Infinitive. However, since the nega­tive of the Imperative is formed differently from that of the Infinitive (Don’t jump Not to jump), and taking into account its peculiar intonation pattern, the Imperative forms cannot be but separate from that of the Infinitive.

Thus, the Imperative Mood, expressed by special morphological forms with the meaning of inducement, is contrasted with the Indicative Mood. Since the Imperative has a meaning of a non-fact, it is contrasted with the Indicative Mood semantically and approaches the Subjective Mood. Yet, it is different from the Subjunctive in that it expresses not so much unreal ac­tions but actions, not performed at the moment of speaking.

The Subjunctive Mood is used to express actions non-existent in reality (i.e. desired, hypothetical, possible or impossible). In this way the Subjunc­tive is semantically different from both the Indicative and the Imperative Moods. The Subjunctive Mood is used to convey an action not performed on a particular occasion; it may also express either an action, impossible to perform, or a desired, hypothetical, possible action. In Old English the Subjunctive was characterized by well-developed inflections, however the inflections, with little exception, have been dropped and analytical forms of expressing non-fact have come into play.

The traditionally distinguished forms of the Subjunctive, the remnants of the inflectional Subjunctive, are usually called synthetic to distinguish them from analytical ones that have come in their place. It is a peculiarity of English that the old and the new Subjunctive forms continue to co-ex­ist. Synthetic forms are identical to Infinitives without the particle to for all persons singular and plural, e.g. be, come, fall. The remnant form of the old Subjunctive were for all persons singular and plural should also be mentioned.

Verb: Category of Mood – Part 4