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English with Philip

Grammar – Imperatives

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Grammar Imperatives are verbs used to give orders, commands, warning or instructions, and (if you use “please”) to make a request. It is one of the three moods of an English verb (indicative, imperative and subjunctive). For example:

Give me that tape, please

‘Don’t forget to make a wish!’

‘Don’t say it out loud!’

These are examples of what are called imperatives and in particular, negative imperatives.

The imperative is a verb form that is used to give orders, instructions, advice, encouragement etc. It’s formed by using the base infinitive of the verb (the infinitive without to). You don’t need a subject.

Sit down!
Be quiet!
Go away!
Put it down there.
Try speaking more slowly.
Take care!
Be careful!

You can make an imperative more emphatic (stronger) by adding ‘do‘ before the verb.
This can also show more politeness or more concern as well as being a strong order.

Oh do shut up! (Strong order)
Welcome, do sit down. (Formal / polite)
It’s a long journey, do take care. (showing concern)

In all cases pronunciation is very important. The same words can show anger or politeness depending on the tone of voice.

Negative imperatives 

Sometimes you want to tell someone NOT to do something. This is a negative imperative. In this case you simply add the word ‘Don’t’ before the verb.

Don’t sit down!
Don’t open that door!
Don’t forget to make a wish!
Don’t say it out loud!
Don’t be silly.
Don’t worry!
Don’t be sad!
Imperatives – other notes 

Although you don’t need to use a subject pronoun with imperatives, you can use a noun or pronoun to make it clear who you are talking to.

Peter sit down. Everyone else stay standing.
Don’t worry everybody, it’s only a drill, not a real fire.

Note that using ‘You’ before an imperative can show anger or that you are putting yourself in a position of authority. The pronoun ‘you’ comes before the imperative and not after.

You come here!
You calm down!

In negative imperatives the pronoun ‘you’ comes between ‘don’t’ and the imperative.

Don’t you leave!
Don’t you speak to me like that!

Adverbs like ‘always’ and ‘never’ come before imperatives.

Always look both ways before you cross the road.
Never drive without your seatbelt fastened.

Your Teacher at SkypeClass will be happy to help you practice using Imperatives.