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).
- Give me that tape, please.
To make the imperative, use the infinitive of the verb without “to”
- Come here!
- Sit down!
To make a negative imperative, put “do not” or “don’t” before the verb:
- Don’t go!
- Do not walk on the grass.
Adults do not usually give each other orders, unless they are in a position of authority. However, adults can give orders to children and to animals. The intonation of an order is important: each word is stressed, and the tone falls at the end of the sentence:
- Sit down now!
You can use the imperative to warn someone of danger. All the words in the warning are stressed, but the last word has a higher tone than the first word:
- Sit down now!
- Watch out!
- Look out!
- Don’t cross!
When you give advice using the imperative, the words are stressed normally.
- Don’t tell him you’re resigning now! Wait until Monday when he’s in a better mood.
- Don’t drink alcohol
- Don’t eat heavy meals
You can also use the imperative to make a request, but you should use a polite word before the verb:
- Please take a seat.
- Please wait here.
- Please hold the line.
- Please don’t smoke here.
We can use the imperative to give a direct order.
- Take that chewing gum out of your mouth.
- Stand up straight.
- Give me the details.
We can use the imperative to give instructions.
- Open your book.
- Take two tablets every evening.
- Take a left and then a right.
We can use the imperative to make an invitation.
- Come in and sit down. Make yourself at home.
- Please start without me. I’ll be there shortly.
- Have a piece of this cake. It’s delicious.
We can use the imperative on signs and notices.
- Do not use.
- Insert one dollar.
We can use the imperative to give friendly informal advice.
- Speak to him. Tell him how you feel.
- Have a quiet word with her about it.
- Don’t go. Stay at home and rest up. Get some sleep and recover.
We can make the imperative ‘more polite’ by adding ‘do’.
- Do be quiet.
- Do come.
- Do sit down.