Lesson 4: Continental Congress


Activity 1: Verb Mood

Verbs have tenses (like present tense, past tense, future tense, etc.) that describe when action occurs, and they have voices (active or passive) that indicate whether the subject is acting or being acted upon. Verbs also have moods, which typically indicate an attitude (such as a statement, question, or command). There are five moods — indicative, interrogative, imperative, conditional, and subjunctive. The first three are straightforward, but the other two are a little tricky. Be sure to review the explanation for those carefully.
Here are the three most common verb moods:
  • Indicative is used for a statement or, as the name suggests, to indicate something. (This type of sentence is sometimes called declarative.) Most sentences are in the indicative mood. Example: Many cultures tell stories about people who can transform into animals.
  • Interrogative is used to ask questions. When we interrogate someone, we ask them questions. For example: Do you believe in werewolves?
  • Imperative is used to state orders or commands. It is always written in the second person, directed at "you." (The "you" is implied but typically not stated in the sentence.) For example: Load the gun with silver bullets before the werewolves arrive.
Another mood is called the conditional mood. It contains a subordinate clause and a main clause; the subordinate clause creates a condition that explains or is a requirement of the information in the main clause. It often follows an "if...then" pattern (if this occurs, then that will occur). NOTE: In the following examples, the main clause is underlined. There are three main types of subordinate clause/main clause situations in the conditional mood:
  • Speculating on whether something will occur: These sentences usually feature would, could, or might as helping verbs in the main clause. For example -- If the team practices more, they might score more goals. This can also be worded as The team might score more goals if they practiced more. In both cases, the main clause is "they [or the team] might score more goals." That will only happen if the condition in the subordinate clause is fulfilled: "if they [or the team] practice more."
  • Describing a relationship between cause and effect: The subordinate clause states a cause, and the main clause provides the effect. For example --When it rains, the roof leaks. Again, the subordinate clause ("when it rains") places a condition on the main clause. Rain is the condition that causes the roof to leak.
  • Making a prediction: The present-tense subordinate clause predicts what will happen in the future (in the main clause). For example -- After my computer is fixed, I will finish my essay. The subordinate clause ("after my computer is fixed") is a condition that must be met before "I will finish my essay."
Finally, the subjunctive mood is used to either 1) express a want or need or 2) describe a situation that is imaginary or hypothetical:
  1. Want or need: The judge requires that court spectators be silent. The underlined phrase could be "asks," suggests," demands," or a similar word. The main clause introduces the want or need. The subordinate clause (beginning with "that") will then require a special verb change. (More on that in a minute.)
  2. Imaginary or hypothetical situation: If I were a superhero, I would be able to fly. Although this example looks similar to some you saw in the conditional mood, the key here is that the subordinate clause (whether it comes at the beginning or end of the sentence) is a condition that is hypothetical or imaginary, meaning one that is not actually true. In this use of the subjunctive, the special verb change takes place in the subjunctive clause.
The special verb change mentioned in the examples is unique to the subjunctive mood. The "be" in the first sentence and the "were" in the second sentence are not the usual verb forms (you would expect "spectators are" and "I am" or "I was," which are the normal tenses). Here's how the verb changes work:
  • For expressions of need or want that begin with phrases such as "she requires that," "he demands that," or "I request that," the verb that follow is in the plain or regular form (that is, the one that you would pair with "to" -- be, have, sit, bring, etc.) Examples: She asks that we be quiet. The coach demanded that he do 50 push-ups.
  • For hypothetical or imaginary situations, the "if" clause is in the past tense, with "were" used for all cases involving the verb "to be." Examples: If we had money (but we really don't), we might buy a car. If I were taller (but I'm actually not), I would play basketball.
Subjunctive and conditional mood sentences can look similar. How do you tell them apart? Look at these sentences:

1) If I practice every day, I might improve my singing.
2) If I were a famous singer, I'd sign autographs all day.

The difference? Sentence 1 describes a situation that could actually happen (it's very likely that if I practice, I will improve), so it is in the conditional mood. Sentence 2 describes a situation that could not happen — the sentence describes an imaginary or hypothetical condition, not a real one (I'm not actually a famous singer), so it is in the subjunctive mood.

The subjunctive can be confusing, but just remember the patterns to look for:
subject + require, suggest, ask, etc. + "that"
(verb that follows is in the plain form)
"if" clause that contains a false or hypothetical situation
(verb in "if" clause is in past tense,
with "were" used for both singular and plural uses of "be")

Ask your parent which option you should complete for this activity. After your activity page has been checked (and corrected as needed), be sure to save the page. Its examples may be helpful when you study for the test at the end of this unit.

NOTE: If you are confused at all about the subjunctive mood, you may want to check out one or both of the videos whose links are included below. Each presentation is only 2-3 minutes long.
Web Link
Web Link
In this activity, your child will explore the various moods of the English language. Some students find the subjunctive mood to be challenging. Links to short videos are provided in case your child needs additional explanations. There are two options for this activity; Option 2 is more advanced. Advise your child which option to complete.

NOTE: Depending on the source you consult, you may find that English has between 3 and 5 official moods. For example, sometimes the interrogative is referred to as a sentence type rather than a mood. The designation isn't that important in this case; students just need to understand that the interrogative asks a question. Five moods are covered in this unit to line up with those mentioned in the Common Core Standards.

Option 1

Complete the "Verb Mood" (Option 1) page.
Student Activity Page
Answer Key, Option 1

Part 1
1. interrogative
2. subjunctive: word that identifies — "If she were a man..."
3. indicative
4. conditional: words that identify: "Unless the colonists revolted, they would continue..."
5. imperative
6. indicative

Part 2
Sentence 1: "continued" should be "continue"
Sentence 2: "is" should be "was"
Sentence 3: "was" could be either "had been" or "were"

Option 2

Complete the "Verb Mood" (Option 2) page.
Student Activity Page
Answer Key, Option 2

Part 1
1. imperative
2. indicative
3. interrogative
4. conditional: words that identify — "When you return, we can then consult..."
5. subjunctive: words that identify — "...suggest to his friend that they recommend..."
This is a challenging question, so if your child struggles with the answer, just share this answer with her.
As you saw with the imperative mood, in some cases part of a sentence is implied ("Walk the dog." instead of "You walk the dog."). The implied beginning to this sentence is something like "[We ask that] God Almighty grant us..." The sentence with the implied beginning follows this pattern: subject + require, suggest, ask, etc. + "that" (verb that follows is in the plain form), so it is subjunctive. It is an old form of the subjunctive that is rarely used today.

Part 2
Sentence 1: "continued" should be "continue"
Sentence 2: "is" should be "was"
Sentence 3: "was" should be "had been" or "were"

Activity 2: Vocabulary Review

Materials: dictionary
In this activity, you will review vocabulary terms from the first half of Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution and, based on your familiarity with each, either think of a sentence using the word; look up the word in the dictionary and then write a sentence using it; or look up the definition, rewrite it in your own words, and then write a sentence using the word. Complete the "Vocabulary Review" page.
Student Activity Page
In this activity, your child will evaluate vocabulary words from Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution and determine her familiarity with each. She will then think of a sentence for words she already knows well, look up the definition and write a sentence for words that she may be familiar with but does not yet know well, and write down a definition and sentence for any completely unfamiliar words.

If your child will need to write sentences or definitions and sentences for more than five words, you may decide to break up the activity and have her complete work on a few words per day until she has finished the activity.