Definition: Mood is a way of classifying verbs. English has three moods: indicative, subjunctive, and imperative.
Definition: The indicative mood expresses a factual situation and is used most often in speech and writing.
Example: I see the children playing [the verb "I see" in the present tense expresses a fact about what the subject saw].
Definition: The subjunctive mood expresses a questionable, imaginary situation and often is indicated by clauses that begin with the trigger-word if. The table below is a list of other trigger-words typically followed by clauses in the subjunctive mood. Ask | Insist | Pray | Regret | Suggest | Demand | Move | Prefer | Request | Wish | Determine | Order | Recommend | Require | |
The auxiliary verbs could, should, may, might, and would also indicate the subjunctive mood.
Example: If I were you, I would run. [Were is a verb in the subjunctive mood, a plural verb acting on a singular noun (I). As it is upside-down, so to speak, it suggests an unreal, imaginary, "possible" situation.]
Example: I wish he would run. [The wish is for a situation not yet real, so it is imaginary, possible, a conjecture.].
Example: Burt insisted that she go back to the store. [The subjunctive mood verb go again is the opposite of what it would be in the indicative mood, suggesting an unreal situation.]
Definition: The imperative mood expresses direct commands and requests. The imperative mood uses the second person form of speech with an implied subject, so it is avoided in academic writing.
Example: Pick up the toys [you is the implied subject].
Point of View
Definition: Point of view in writing refers to the source of the writer's opinions and conclusions. There are three points of view in writing, termed first, second, and third person. The rules below explain the different points of view.
First person point of view uses I or We as subjects and My or Our as pronouns.
Example: I have found that the best way to avoid conflict is to communicate.
Example: In conclusion, my research reveals that the best way to avoid conflict is to communicate.
Second person point of view uses You as a subject and your as a pronoun.
Example: In order to earn better grades, you must study more.
Example: Your study habits have contributed to your grades.
Third person point of view uses proper nouns and pronouns such as he, she, it, and they.
Example: Project managers [plural noun] should dedicate enough time to project planning, so they [plural pronoun] can implement a successful project.
Point of View in Academic Writing
Third-person pronouns [he, she, it, they] are the most common pronouns in academic writing. Second-person pronouns [you, your] are seldom used. First-person pronouns [I, we] can be used in personal accounts, reactions, opinions, etc.
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association permits the use of I when referring to yourself, but only if you are the sole author. Restrict the use of we in academic writing when referring to general humanity. Individual assignments may direct otherwise on the use of I and we, so check with your facilitator on specific assignment criteria.
Be sure that if you use the pronoun We for the third person that it refers to the authors and not humankind in general.
Incorrect: We are social animals [Werefers to the authors].
Correct: Humans are social animals.
Because second person is not approved in academic writing, avoid using you when speaking of people in general.
Incorrect: You can no longer travel to Canada without a passport.
Correct: Travelers can no longer enter Canada without a passport.
Be careful when using third-person singular pronouns, such as anybody, nobody, each, everybody, and so on. For third-person singular pronouns, be sure to use the correct possessive pronouns.
Incorrect: Each [singular pronoun]