Dirty, sexy, grammar – mood

by Julie Frayn on May 4, 2012 in  Dirty, Sexy, Grammar

Candles. Wine. Soft music. I bet you know what I’m in the mood for.


I mean, who isn’t? It’s such a sexy thing, good grammar. Even sexier when you break the ‘rules’ and rebel. That’s right, baby – end my sentence with a preposition. Come on, split my infinitive. Oh, yes….

Mood is a state of mind. It is the way you are feeling, an expression of emotional state. Grammatical mood is the quality of a verb that tells us the writer’s attitude. See, I knew us writers had ‘tude.

Bagels and doughnuts….round food for every mood. ~ Chandler Bing

There are three core grammatical moods.

Indicative mood makes factual statements, asserts, denies or questions.

  • Grammar is sexy.
  • I can’t live without writing.
  • Who are you and what are you doing in my pajamas?

Imperative mood commands, prohibits, requests.

  • Don’t touch my wine.
  • Get over here now!
  • Please pass the whipped cream.

Subjunctive mood doubts, suggests, and wishes.

  • Wish you were here.
  • If I were you, I’d get out of my pajamas.
  • May you live long and prosper.

There is a fourth mood that deserves a little attention – Infinitive. An infinitive is usually the basic form of a verb with “to” in front of it: to go, to walk, to sing. Or – if you’re in the mood – to boldly go, to quickly walk, to loudly sing. Oh yeah, I split those infinitives and overused ‘ly adverbs. I guess I’m in a defiant mood. A rebel without a clause.

Infinitive mood expresses action or a state without referring to a subject. Verbs in the infinitive mood are not being used as verbs, but as other parts of speech:

  • To err is human; to forgive, ridiculous. (to err and to forgive used as nouns).
  • She is a woman to be admired. (to be admired used as an adjective to describe woman).
  • The mailman came to see me. (to see me used as an adverb to tell why he came).

Many other moods are “grammarized” – hortative, dubitative, optative, hypothetical, conditional, and potential to name only a few.

It is clear that, like me, grammar has many moods. In life, moods can be fleeting. But in writing – that mood is set in stone. Or at least on paper. So make it a good one! Or a bad one. Or sexy. Or whatever fits in your writing pajamas.

On a bad day, I have mood swings – but on a good day, I have the whole mood playground. ~ Charles Rosenblum


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheila May 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Great post, as always!! Fun and informative…


Julie May 4, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Thanks, hon! Glad you liked.

Linda May 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Great post….I don’t think there is a category for my grammar, that is why I am NOT a writer!


Julie May 4, 2012 at 10:20 pm

But, you just wrote a comment! 😀 Thanks for stopping in, there’s more grammar lessons in here if you don’t mind less-than-serious stuff…

M. J. Joachim May 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm

What a fun way to share grammar:) Happy Friday to you!


Julie May 4, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Well thanks – on both counts! It has been a happy Friday.

Liv Rancourt May 4, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Wow, but I must have slept through Senior English. Thanks for a very entertaining lesson!


Julie May 4, 2012 at 10:21 pm

I think most everyone did that, Liv. It’s only fun when you make it fun – and you are welcome!

Amberr Meadows May 6, 2012 at 7:30 am

Va va voom! There is nothing sexier than grammar in my house :-)


Julie May 6, 2012 at 11:39 am

I know, right? Thanks, Amberr

Sean P. Farley May 6, 2012 at 9:57 am

Julie!! Um….you surprised me with this little gem. How dirty! Seriously, I was eating a spoonful of oatmeal when I read “Come on, split my infinitive” and almost spewed it on my computer screen. Good stuff. There are so many grammar “rules” that I too often forget. How did a friend of mine put it?…I don’t go by the technical rules of grammar so much as I do instinct. That’s how I play it mostly.


Julie May 6, 2012 at 11:40 am

I am learning from these posts that there are too many rules! So technical when, really, you just need to write and have it make sense. But making it fun and silly and sexy is a riot. Hey, does this mean I made you blush again? Woot!!!

Kurt Chambers May 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm

What a great post :) Makes me realise how much I don’t know about grammar LOL


Julie May 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I am learning as I go, and trying to find a potentially inappropriate way to share my new found knowledge! Glad you enjoyed it. :)

Diane Hughes May 6, 2012 at 7:59 pm

I love a woman who’s willing to split infinitives and end sentences with prepositions. And if you like to begin sentences with “and” and “but,” all the better. Enjoyed your take on the moods of grammar.


Julie May 6, 2012 at 9:47 pm

I do start sentences with and. And but. But not always. But often enough…

Mikalee Byerman May 7, 2012 at 8:27 am

Awesome post, but I do have a slight tweak to suggest.

Your imperative sentence: “Don’t touch my wine.”
My suggested edit: “DON’T TOUCH MY WINE!!!!!!”

I can imagine no context in which the utterance of that sentence would not necessitate as many exclamation points as humanly allowed.



Julie May 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Nice catch! In real life those words would be spoken at high volume and delivered with a killer hairy eyeball! And anyone that did touch my wine would NOT live long, NOR prosper… 😀

Lynn May 7, 2012 at 9:07 am

Great post! Awesome info!

I will definitely be sharing this today!


Julie May 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Glad you liked, and I thank you for sharing! I love sharing as much as I love comments.

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