Jussive mood

The jussive (abbreviated JUS) is a grammatical mood of verbs for issuing orders, commanding, or exhorting (within a subjunctive framework). English verbs are not marked for this mood. The mood is similar to the cohortative mood, which typically applies to the first person by appeal to the object's duties and obligations, and the imperative, which applies to the second (by command). The jussive however typically covers the first and third persons.[1] It can also apply to orders by their author's wish in the mandative subjunctive.



In the German language, the jussive mood is expressed using the present subjunctive (named "Konjunktiv I" or "Möglichkeitsform I" in German). It is typical of formal documents or religious texts, such as the Bible. Because it was more common in past centuries, it has often survived in proverbs:

Itsweep+SBJV+PRES+3Severyonein front ofhisowndoor
Everybody should sweep in front of his own door (Everybody should mind his own business).

It is still common that recipes are written in jussive mood:

Take three eggs

Apart from that, jussive mood is still quite common in contemporary German. However, the pronouns he, she, and it might not be used directly; otherwise jussive would be mistaken for a dated form of courteous imperative. Instead, they will have to be replaced by "who", "someone", "everyone", "the new colleague" and so on:

WernocheineKartebraucht, meldesichbeimir
Whostillaticketneed+IND+PRES+3S, report+SBJV+PRES+3Sselfatme
If someone still needs a ticket, just contact me.

Finally an example for jussive that would have served as a courteous imperative when addressing people of lower, but not lowest, rank:

Come over and help me!

Note that Er is written in capital letters here. Even if this construction is not used anymore in common German, it will be recognized as being an imperative (German Wikipedia lists the example "Sei Er nicht so streng!" as a historic form of an imperative).


In the Latin language, the present subjunctive can convey jussive meaning in the third person (jussive subjunctive or coniunctivus iussivus):[2]

A jussive use of the present subjunctive is also attested for the second person in sayings and poetry, as well as in early Latin.


The jussive mood in modern Russian serves as an imperative (for issuing orders, commanding or requesting), but covers third person instead of second person. Always formed with a particle пусть, which is derived from the verb пускать (to let, to allow).

Imperative: Беги! (Run!)
Jussive: Пусть бежит (similar to Let him run)


The jussive mood, called the volitive in Esperanto, is used for wishing and requesting, and serves as the imperative. It covers some of the uses of the subjunctive in European languages:

Iru! (Go!)
Mi petis, ke li venu. (I asked him to come.)
Li parolu. (Let him speak.)
Ni iru. (Let's go.)
Benu ĉi tiun domaĉon. (Bless this mess.)
Mia filino belu! (May my daughter be beautiful!)


Arabic verbs conjugate for at least three distinct moods in the imperfect: indicative, subjunctive and jussive.

The jussive is used after the preposition li- 'to' to express a command to a third person.

'Let him do it.'

A further use of this mood is in negative commands.

لا تأخذ ذلك اللحم
lā ta’xudh dhālika l-laḥm
not take.JUS.2SG.MASC that the-meat
'Don't take that meat.'

The jussive form is also used in past tense sentences negated by lam (but not ).

لم تأكل الدجاج
lam ta’kuli d-dajāj
not.PAST eat.JUS.3SG.FEM the-chicken
'She didn't eat the chicken.'


  1. Loos, Eugene E.; Anderson, Susan; Day, Dwight H., Jr.; Jordan, Paul C.; Wingate, J. Douglas (eds.). "What is jussive mood?". Glossary of linguistic terms. SIL International. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  2. Hanslik, Rudolf; et al. (1950). Lateinische Grammatik (in German). Vienna: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky.
  3. Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges. Ginn and Company. 1903.

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