Thou Shalt Not Command a Mood
Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at 07:44AM

We’re devoting much of our time to our sister site, ArgueLab, but Figaro hasn’t disappeared altogether. He’s especially interested in the latest ArgueLab video, because it contains what linguists and grammarians call the command mood.

A mood signals the purpose of a sentence. For instance, the interrogative mood has to do with a question. The indicative mood states a fact. The subjunctive mood—well, let’s not get all moody here. This is rhetoric, after all.

One of the biggest rhetorical mistakes is to use a command to order someone’s mood. In this video, Christina’s imaginary boyfriend, Ryan Gosling, tells her to calm down. That’s the command mood commanding a mood. The results are predictable. But Christina also offers a solution.

Got questions for Figaro? Comment below or get yourself straight to ArgueLab.

Article originally appeared on Figures of Speech (
See website for complete article licensing information.