Participle Chart « PreviousNext » Conditional Clauses

Summary of Greek Moods

Moods show the relation of the action of the verb to reality.

INDICATIVE — the mood of reality

  • from the Latin indicatus, past participle of indicare, from in- + dicare — to proclaim
  • asserts the denoted act or state as an objective fact
  • may be either a statement or a question about what is factual and real.
  • It does not follow that the statement is actually true, only that it is being asserted as true from the speaker's point of view
  • asserted as true, as distinguished from what is wished for, hoped for, commanded, considered a possiblity, etc.
  • Example: If someone says Jesus was only a good teacher, he is making a statement about reality from his point of view. It is therefore Indicative, though not actually true.
  • The Indicative is the only mood in which tense has temporal (time) significance. The tense of non-indicative moods (all the following) signify aspect only (see note on Aspect below)

IMPERATIVE — the mood of command

  • Latin imperativus, from imperatus, past participle of imperare to command
  • expresses the will to influence the behavior of another

SUBJUNCTIVE — the mood of possibility

  • from the Latin subjunctivus, from subjunctus, past participle of subjungere — to join beneath, subordinate
  • represents a denoted act or state not as fact but as contingent or possible
  • its uses are many and varied in Greek, e.g. purpose clauses, 3rd class conditions, et al.

OPTATIVE — the mood of wish

  • from the Latin optativus, from optare to wish
  • expresses wish or desire, e.g. 'μὴ γένοιτο'(may it never be!) in Romans 6.2
  • The Optative is rare in NT Greek


  • These 4 moods are called finite. The Infinitive, though sometimes classed as a mood, is actually a verbal noun
  • Aspect is the kind of action denoted, relative to its progress, results, or simple occurrence

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