Teaching Grammar: Subjunctive Mood

Table of Contents

The text is a lyric from the song by Beyoncé Knowles called “If I Were a Boy”. It has been chosen since it vividly illustrates the grammar rule to be explained. In addition, the song is popular, and it is quite likely that almost all students know it and remember the words. Therefore, it will be easy for them to memorize and reproduce the rule. The chosen part of the text (the first four lines) is as follows (Beyoncé, 2009):

“If I were a boy

Even just for a day

I’d roll outta bed in the morning

And throw on what I wanted and go”.


The grammar point to be illustrated through this text is the subjunctive mood. The mood indicates that the action expressed by the verb is not a real fact, but a desire, an assumption, a suggestion, a demand, a doubt or a condition, the realization of which is doubtful, unrealistic or supposed. To teach this grammatical concept, the following lesson plan should be adopted:

  • Students listen to the song to introduce the grammar point to them. After that, the instructor asks them what they think subjunctive mood implies.
  • The teacher explains the use of the mood using printed lyric and answers students’ questions.
  • Students make their own sentences using the construction “If I were…”.
  • Students read their sentences aloud to each other in pairs or all together.
  • Learners complete exercises on the topic.
  • Homework: students need to write a short essay or a poem/lyric using subjunctive mood.

Further Details

The text will be used for one activity since subjunctive mood is a topic, which requires multiple examples on the use of verbs. The objectives of the activity are to practice irregular verbs in context and use tenses correctly. However, other texts will be required to differentiate between active and passive voices and illustrate other ways to express the mood of the verb. The text will not be used to explain any cultural aspects since it will be utilized for one activity only and its purpose is to make sure students memorize the use of the correct construction by listening to the song.


Beyoncé. (2009). . Web.


The text to be used in the class (Beyoncé, 2009):

“If I were a boy

Even just for a day

I’d roll outta bed in the morning

And throw on what I wanted and go

Drink beer with the guys

And chase after girls

I’d kick it with who I wanted

And I’d never get confronted for it.

‘Cause they’d stick up for me.

If I were a boy

I think I could understand

How it feels to love a girl

I swear I’d be a better man.

I’d listen to her

‘Cause I know how it hurts

When you lose the one you wanted

‘Cause he’s taken you for granted

And everything you had got destroyed”.