Hi everyone,

It reads that the following is an example of indicative mood.

"If the cavern was of artificial construction, considerable pains had been taken to make it look natural."

To me it looks like a subjuntive mood.

How can it be a indicative mood and in that case, how can I interpret the meaning?

(I can't find any difference in the meaning between this sentence and the one with subjuntive mood.)

How can I know this is indicative mood and how can I interpret the meaning?

If you have any idea and let me know some here, it would be a big help for me.

Thanks a lot~

pb

Full Member320
Pb03"If the cavern was of artificial construction, considerable pains had been taken to make it look natural."
I understand that sentences like this can be problematic to even native speakers occasionally. The difficulties stem from a lack of completely different verb forms for indicative and subjunctive in English. Theoretically, were should be used for the subjunctive and was for the indicative, but in informal style was is a common subjunctive form. Not so in all languages, though. My native language tells me instantly which mood we are dealing with, and you are right, the sentence is indeed in the indicative mood.

In your example, if waswere Emotion: smile a subjunctive, it couldn't be followed byhad been taken. A conditional would have to be used instead. These are correct examples of informal subjunctive was:

If the cavern was of artificial construction, people would easily notice that.
If the cavern was of artificial construction, it wouldn't look as real as it actually does.

Would isn't the only auxiliary that can be used in such sentences. Might, could, should and ought may also be used:

If the cavern was of artificial construction, it might not interest people so much.

In this sentence was is indicative:
If the cavern was of artificial construction, no one told me about it.

CB
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Pb03"If the cavern was of artificial construction, considerable pains had been taken to make it look natural."

To me it looks like a subjuntive mood.
No. It shouldn't look like subjunctive mood. There's nothing subjunctive there. You have a simple past and a past perfect. When the if-clause has a past tense and the main clause also has a past tense or a past perfect tense, you are dealing with the indicative mood. (Personally, I call this pattern the "detective's conditional" because it's based on the kind of reasoning a detective might use in solving a crime. The main clause contains a logical deduction from the facts given in the if-clause. This deduction can even be paraphrased with "must have".)

Compare with these, also all indicative:

If Jake was at Judy's at the time, he did not murder Kathy.
~ If Jake was at Judy's at the time, (we can conclude that) he [must not have / could not have] murdered Kathy.
If Oscar's blood was Type A, the blood on Kathy's coat was not Oscar's.
~ If Oscar's blood was Type A, (we can conclude that) the blood on Kathy's coat [must not have / could not have] been Oscar's.
Pb03How can I know this is indicative mood and how can I interpret the meaning?
Strange to say, it's indicative because if doesn't mean ifhere Emotion: surprise -- at least not the if that connects a logical cause with a logical effect. The meaning is something like this:

The cavern was probably artificial, but it looked natural. Therefore, considerable pains must have been taken to make it look natural. [This deduction about what preceded is based on the situation that was observed at that time.]

The cavern's being artificial cannot result in pains having been taken to make it look natural. The time line is wrong. The logic is wrong. The present can't influence the past. Pains to make it look natural have to precede the fact of its appearance now. So we know that this is not a "normal conditional".
___

Contrast your sentence with a "normal conditional".

If the cavern were artificial, everyone would notice it.

Here the cavern's being artificial results in everyone noticing it. Here the if-clause contains a subjunctive.

CJ
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