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Interrogative Mood

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Interrogative Mood

How do we know when a sentence is a question? The punctuation (i.e. the question mark) is a giveaway for sure, but the structure of a sentence and the specific use of verbs also play an important part in forming questions.

This use of verb forms to show the purpose of a sentence is what we call 'Grammatical Mood'. The type of grammatical mood when we ask questions is called the 'Interrogative Mood'. Let's look at this in more detail, along with plenty of examples!

Grammatical mood

In English Language, the term 'grammatical mood' does not refer to whether we're having a good or bad day (like 'mood' does). Instead, it helps us to understand the purpose of a sentence and how it should be understood. For example, whether the sentences is a question, demand, statement, wish, etc.

Grammatical mood definition

So how exactly would we define grammatical mood?

Grammatical mood refers to the use of verb forms that indicate (show) the purpose of a sentence and how it should be understood.

Types and examples of grammatical mood

There are five main types of grammatical mood in English Language. These are:

  • Indicative- stating a fact or belief, e.g. 'Cheetahs are the fastest land animal'.
  • Imperative- making requests or commands, e.g. 'Don't sit there!'.
  • Subjunctive- expressing a hypothetical situation, wish, possibility, or suggestion, e.g. 'If I were rich, I'd buy a mansion'.
  • Interrogative- asking questions, e.g. 'Are you coming to the party later?'.
  • Conditional- state conditions and make requests, e.g. 'If there isn't coffee cake, I'll get chocolate cake instead'.

Different languages use different grammatical moods, and they express these moods in different ways.

Interrogative mood definition

What exactly is the interrogative mood?

The interrogative mood is the use of verb forms to indicate the sentence is a question.

Interrogative Mood, question mark on chalkboard resembling questions used in the interrogative mode, StudySmarterQuestions are in the interrogative mood (Pexels)

Interrogative mood examples

Let's look at a few examples of the interrogative mood in a sentence:

Are you going to see Jake's new puppy later?

Is anyone sitting here?

What is your favourite film?

What's the capital of Australia?

Do you like the new décor?

Does it look okay?

Interrogative form

The interrogative mood has a recognisable form that shows the sentence is a question. To form a question, we don't change the main verb of the sentence like we do in some other moods. Instead, we use an auxiliary verb along with the main verb and place it before the subject of the sentence.

An auxiliary verb is a helps that 'helps' another verb to show information about grammatical categories such as tense, aspect, mood, and voice. Examples of auxiliary verbs include be, can, do, have, may, must, will, and would, but there are many more.

The subject of a sentence is the person or thing that does the action (i.e. the verb). In the sentence 'Emma plays football well', the subject is 'Emma' and the verb is 'plays'.

For example, if we take the sentence 'Molly likes swimming', we can form the interrogative by using the auxiliary verb 'does' and placing it before the subject (Molly). This forms the interrogative sentence 'Does Molly like swimming?'.

If there is already an auxiliary verb in the sentence, e.g. 'Chris is really tall', we can form the interrogative by inverting the auxiliary verb (is) and placing it before the subject (Chris). This forms the interrogative sentence 'is Chris really tall?'.

Let's look at a few other examples of the interrogative form.

Does my hair look good?

Here the auxiliary verb 'does' comes before the subject 'my hair'.

Are you coming to the festival later?

Here the auxiliary verb 'are' comes before the subject 'you'.

Was he being serious?

Here the auxiliary verb 'was' comes before the subject 'he'.

How do we recognise the interrogative?

Placing the auxiliary before the subject is a defining feature of the interrogative. This distinctive form helps us to recognise the interrogative mood in text. The use of punctuation, more specifically question marks, is another recognisable feature.

Question marks

The use of question marks (?) is the easiest way to recognise the interrogative mood. Question marks are usually put at the end of interrogative sentences (i.e. questions). For example, What time is it?.

It is important to remember that not all sentences that end in a question mark are in the interrogative mood. The sentence 'You're coming later, right?' is an example of a question mark in the indicative mood. The person is stating a belief 'you're coming later' but is also showing uncertainty by using a tag question and question mark.

Exclamative and interrogative mood

Exclamative sentences, or 'exclamatory sentences', are different from interrogative sentences. We often recognise them as they end in an exclamation mark (!).

An exclamative is a word or sentence that indicates an exclamation (i.e. a remark of surprise, pain, anger, excitement, happiness, or admiration)

Examples of exclamative sentences include:

You won!

Come here quick!

Help me!

This place is beautiful!

You scared me!

Interrogative and conditional mood

There are five types of grammatical mood in English Language; one of these is called the conditional mood.

The conditional mood is the use of verb forms to express that one action is dependent on another (i.e. a condition for which something could happen).

We often form the conditional mood by using modal verbs. These are a type of auxiliary verb that express possibility, ability, intentions, probability, or permission. For example, can, could, will, would, should, might, and must. We often use a phrase using the word 'if' in the conditional mood also.

Some examples of sentences in the conditional mood are:

If I were rich, I would buy fifty dogs and a mansion.

If we go on holiday in summer, it should be to Greece.

You will get ill if you stay outside all night.

Interrogative Mood - Key takeaways

  • Grammatical mood helps us to understand the purpose of a sentence and how it should be understood e.g. whether it's a question, demand, statement, wish, etc.
  • There are 5 main types of mood in the English language: indicative (fact or belief), imperative (requests or commands), subjunctive (hypothetical situation, wish, possibility, suggestion), interrogative (asking questions), conditional (state conditions and make requests).
  • The interrogative mood is the use of verb forms to indicate the sentence is a question.
  • To form a sentence in the interrogative mood, we use an auxiliary verb (i.e. 'helping' verb) along with the main verb and place it before the subject (the person/thing performing the action) of the sentence.
  • The use of question marks (?) helps us to recognise the interrogative mood.

Frequently Asked Questions about Interrogative Mood

The interrogative mood is the use of verb forms to indicate the sentence is a question.

Examples of the interrogative mood are:

  • Are you going out later?
  • Is this seat taken?
  • What is your favourite book?
  • What is the capital of Canada?
  • Does it look good?

To form the interrogative mood, we use an auxiliary verb (i.e. 'helping' verb) along with the main verb and place it before the subject (the person/thing performing the action) of the sentence. 

Placing the auxiliary before the subject is a defining feature of the interrogative. The use of punctuation, more specifically question marks, is another recognisable feature.

There are five main types of grammatical mood in English Language. These are indicative, imperative, subjunctive, interrogative, and conditional.

Final Interrogative Mood Quiz

Question

Grammatical mood helps us to understand the purpose of a sentence. True or false?

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Answer

True

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Question

We recognise grammatical mood from the use of nouns. True or false?

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Answer

False

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Question

We recognise grammatical mood from the use of specific verb forms. True or false?

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Answer

True

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Question

How many main types of grammatical mood are there?

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Answer

5

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Question

The interrogative mood is used to make requests or commands. True or false?

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Answer

False

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Question

The interrogative mood is used to ask questions. True or false?

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Answer

True

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Question

Which of the following are examples of the interrogative mood?

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Answer

Are you coming with me?

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Question

Which of the following are examples of the interrogative mood?

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Answer

What is Emma’s favourite food?

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Question

Which of the following are examples of the interrogative mood?

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Answer

Does she live in London?

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Question

We form the interrogative mood using which of the following?

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Answer

An auxiliary verb

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Question

Where do we place the auxiliary verb in an interrogative sentence?

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Answer

Before the subject

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Question

What piece of punctuation helps us to recognise the interrogative mood?

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Answer

Question mark

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Question

Make the sentence ‘Penny loves football’ into an interrogative sentence using the auxiliary verb ‘does’.

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Answer

Does Penny love football?

Show question

Question

Make the sentence ‘You are coming to the party’ into an interrogative sentence using the auxiliary verb ‘are’.

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Answer

Are you coming to the party?

Show question

Question

Make the sentence ‘It looks good’ into an interrogative sentence using the auxiliary verb ‘does'.

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Answer

Does it look good?

Show question

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