Imperative Mood for intermediate learners

If you're wondering what the word 'imperative' means, in grammar, imperatives are verbs that are used to tell somebody what to do or not to do.

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"Imperative Mood" in English Grammar

What Is Imperative Mood?

The imperative mood is a verb form used to give orders, commands, or instructions. It is often used to tell someone what to do or how to do something.

Structure

In an imperative sentence, the subject is generally hidden or implied, and the sentence begins with the base form of the verb. Take a look at the examples below:

Close the door!

Here, the subject is 'you' and it is hidden.

Do your homework right now.

Tip!

Keep in mind that in the imperative form, we can use both a full stop (.) and an exclamation mark (!) at the end of the sentence. However, be careful not to confuse imperative statements with declarative and exclamatory sentences.

Negation

To change an imperative sentence to a negative form, you can add the phrase 'do not' or 'don't' at the beginning of the sentence. This is used to instruct someone not to do something. Pay attention to the examples below:

Don't talk to me like that!

Don't stare at other people.

Warning!

When you want to order someone politely, you should use phrases such as 'please' or 'if you don't mind' in your statement. Take a look at the examples below:

Open the window, please.

Turn down the volume if you don't mind.

Uses

The imperative form is used in many different contexts but we are going to learn some of its most common uses in English as listed below:

  • To give orders
  • To give directions
  • To give instructions
  • To give advice and suggestion

To Give Orders

The imperative mood can be used to give orders or to instruct someone to do or not do something. In this structure, the subject is generally implied to be 'you'. Pay attention to the examples:

Read the script loudly.

Do not smoke here.

To Give Directions

The imperative form is commonly used to give directions when guiding someone to a particular place or location. Let us look at some examples below:

Go straight to Apple Street. Then turn left. Park your car in the garage.

To Give Instructions

The imperative form is often used to give instructions on how to do or use something. Pay attention to the following example:

Pour some water on the mixture.

Press this button to start the engine.

To Give Advice and Suggestion

The imperative structure can also be used to provide advice or suggestion on what someone should or should not do. Pay attention to the examples below:

Take this pill to feel better.

Don't wear jeans with that top.

Tip!

The imperative form can also be used to invite someone to an event or gathering. Let us look at the examples below:

Come to Anna's party!

Join us for dinner.

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