Difference Between Indicative and Subjunctive

Main Difference – Indicative vs. Subjective

In the English language, there are three grammatical moods: imperative, Indicative and Subjunctive. In a sentence, the grammatical mood expresses the speaker’s attitude about the state of being of what the sentence describes. The main difference between indicative and subjunctive mood is that Indicative mood is used to state facts while subjunctive mood is to indicate imaginary or conditional situations.

What Does Indicative Mean

The indicative mood is used to state facts. This can be used to make factual statements, asking questions, or expressing opinions as if they were facts. In fact, this article is mostly written in the indicative mood as it contains facts. Given below are some sentences written in the indicative mood.

I love reading detective stories.

Thirty nine people suffered injuries from a landslide in Lahore.

Did you inform your boss that you are not coming to work today?

He did not know that his parents were waiting for him at home.

This castle was built in the 14th century.

What Does Subjunctive Mean

The subjunctive mood is used to express hypothetical and conditional situations. Many non-native English speakers, as well as natives, find this a tricky area in grammar. Before, discussing the formation of grammar let us first see, the instances where the subjunctive is used. It is used to express,

Hypothetical conditions

If I were the president, I would declare Monday a holiday.

If I were you, I would accept this job.


I wish I were prettier.

She wishes her parents were more understanding.

Commands or demands

They demanded that she return to work immediately.

Her father insisted that she go to school.


I suggest that he discuss this with his parents.

The nutritionist recommended that Sally reduce her daily fat intake.

Statements of necessity

It is essential that you listen to me.

It is important that be there at 8’o clock.


In subjunctive mood, the infinitive form of the verb is used after omitting ‘to’. However, the difference between subjunctive and indicative is noticeable in only certain cases.

It is essential that he join them  ←  It is essential + that + join (infinitive) +……
It is essential that you be there    ← It is essential + that+ be (infinitive)+…….

It is recommended that he drink two glasses of water after exercises.

It is important that you be waiting there when he gets off the plane.

The doctor suggested that he be admitted to the hospital immediately.

I propose that you not accept the job.

difference between indicative and subjunctive

Difference Between Indicative and Subjunctive


Indicative: Indicative mood is used to state facts.

Subjunctive: Subjunctive mood is used in conditional and hypothetical situations.


Indicative: The verb conjugations and the grammatical formation of a sentence do not change in this mood.

Subjunctive: In some cases, there is a definite deviation from the normal verb conjugations.


Indicative: This is the mostly used mood in the English language.

Subjunctive: This is not commonly used and many English speakers, native and non-native find this a bit difficult.


Indicative: Indicative is used in declarative or interrogative sentences.

Subjunctive: Subjunctive is used to express a wish, doubt, command, hypotheses, purposes, suggestions, requests, etc.

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