The indicative mood indicates that the speaker is portraying or speaking as if the verbal action he is referring to is real (rather than only potential). It is the most frequently used mood and is the default mood when there is no reason to use one of the other moods.
Example: Table VMI-1 Indicative example
I baptize you with water for repentance
The Indicative mood indicates that the action of the verb is being portrayed as real (or actual). It does not mean that the action portrayed is real. The speaker could be lying. He could be telling a parable, a make-believe story, exaggerating, or just be wrong. In all of these cases the statement is presented as being real.
The indicative mood may be used in:
- Declarative statements. See Declarative Indicative
- Interrogative statements (or questions). See Interrogative-indicative
- Conditional statements. See Conditional Statement or
- Imperatives. See Imperative Indicative
Tense in the indicative mood, refers to both time and aspect from the speaker’s perspective. See Tense
Time in the indicative mood can be past (completed action), Present (either durative or undefined), or future (either durative or undefined).
Aspect refers to the kind of action. The kind of action can be mere occurrence (undefined), durative, or completed. The aspect (or kind of action) for the indicative mood in the present tense must be determined based on the context.
When we say the aspect is “Mere occurrence” or “Undefined” this means the action could have taken place over a long period of time, in a moment of time, or anywhere in between. The aspect (or kind of action) is not defined.
- See the Master_Verb_chart
- Table 3 through Table 8 for the complete list of forms for the indicative mood.
15,643 (or 55% of the 28,342 verbs) in the New Testament are in the indicative mood.
The basic form for a verb consists of:
- An augment (for the imperfect and aorist tenses only) or a reduplication (for the perfect tenses),
- The tense stem,
- A tense formative (for the future, aorist tenses except for second aorist, and perfect active tenses),
- A connecting vowel (which may or may not be present), and
- Personal ending
See Thematic Indicative Verbs Table V-IT-1a through Table V-IT-5b for a complete listing of the different present, imperfect, future, and aorist tense forms for verbs with a theme vowel.
See Athematic Indicative Verbs for the forms of verbs that do not have a theme vowel.
A declarative statement makes a statement or assertion. This is the most common use of the indicative mood.
The indicative mood may be used in a question when it expects a declarative response. It assumes that there is a factual response to the question.
Table VMI-3 Interrogative Indicative¶
|He says||to them||what||do you seek|
He said to them, “What do you seek?”
The following example ( Table VM-4) could be translated as a Declarative Indicative or an Interrogative Indicative based on Greek grammar. The decision to translate this verse as a question (or interrogative) is based on the context. It should also be kept in mind that the punctuation marks in the Greek text are not a part of the original text of the scripture, but are a helpful aid in our translation.
Table VMI-4 Interrogative based on context
|you||you are||the||king||of the||Jews?|
“Are you the king of the Jews?” or alternate translation based on grammar “You are the king of the Jews.”
[Note: Context makes it clear that Pilate is asking a question and making a declaritive statement that Jesus is King of the Jews.]
Conditional Statement- Indicative¶
A verb in the indicative mood may be used in the first part of a conditional statement (known as the protasis or the “if clause”). In this case the clause usually begins with ἐι (if). Often it will contain the particle ἀν (a non-translatable particle which makes a statement conditional) in the apodosis (or the “then clause”).
It is appropriate for the indicative mood to be used in the protasis because it is being presented as reality. (If this is so, then this.)
The future indicative is sometimes used to express a command.