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ABSTRACT. Although mood distinction in Spanish has received much attention (Bell 1980, Lunn 1989, Silva-Corvalan 1994a), few sociolinguistic studies have considered the observation that the subjunctive-indicative contrast is a multi-layered system (Haverkate 2002) within a single statistical analysis in order to better understand how native speakers vary their use of verbal moods. The current study addresse's this issue by refining variables examined previously and identifying new factors that condition mood use and by investigating these features systematically in one multivariate regression model. The results show those that predict mood are semantic category, form regularity, time referente, hypotheticality, and task. 1. INTRODUCTION. A verbal system is generally considered to be marked with tense, aspect, and modality, and it is within the last category where the focus of the current research lies. By definition, 'modality is concerned with the status of the proposition that describes the event' (Palmer 2001:1), and it may be expressed within a single language through a mood system, a modal system, or both. It is a feature of language that continues to be of interest in various subfields of linguistics because its semantic function has been a challenge to define, due to the cross-linguistic variation in meaning and the apparent absence of one prototypical function. Attempts to arrive at a definition include the proposal of contrasts between two categories, such as realis/irrealis, fact/non-fact, and truth/ untruth, but have undergone extensive debate (Palmer 2001 ). (1) Because the current study specifically investigates the mood system, or the subjunctive-indicative alternation, and not modality as a whole, it is useful to establish as a point of departure how these binary categories have been applied to mood distinction. (2) The subjunctive has been associated with notions of irrealis, non-fact, and untruth, whereas the indicative has been linked to realis, fact, and truth (Palmer 2001).