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Among the Indo-European languages, the indicative mood is the grammatical mood of a verb that distinguishes ordinary statements; if it is not a command, a wish, or a hypothetical statement, the indicative mood is used. The indicative mood is the most common grammatical mood; each verb in this paragraph stands in the indicative mood. Grammatical mood is distinct from grammatical tense; in English, verbs remain in the indicative mood regardless of whether they spoke in the preterite, are being used in the present tense, or will be used in the future tense. Among the Indo-European languages, it contrasts with the:
- imperative mood, used for commands;
- subjunctive mood, used for hypothetical statements; and the
- optative mood, used for wishes and requests.
In Indo-European languages, it is not customary to speak of a negative mood, used for negation, since in these languages negation is originally a particle that can be applied to a verb in any of these moods. In some non-Indo-European languages, the negative mood counts as a separate mood. It could be argued that Modern English has joined the ranks of these languages, since negation in the indicative mood requires the use of an auxiliary verb and a distinct syntax in most cases.