Linguistic Terms

English Imperative

English Imperative?

An imperative sentence gives a direct command. It may end in period or exclamation point depending on the strength of the command. The main verb in an imperative sentence is said to be in the imperative mood.
Take a look at the Imperative Phrase Examples below:

  • Clear this desk by tomorrow! (Clear this table by tomorrow!)
  • Please tidy your room. (Please tidy up your room.)
  • Drive to the roundabout and then turn left. (Drive to the roundabout and turn left)

Forming the Imperative

You can use the imperative form to give an order, give a warning or advice, and you use “please” to make a request. 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. ” The imperative can be used for all the following subjects (you, he, they and we), but you can also use “let’s” before the verb if you include yourself in the imperative: “Let’s stop now.” “Let’s have some lunch.” )


  • Drink some water.
  • Go for a walk! 


  • Come in, sit down!
  • Sit with us!


  • Turn on the lights!
  • Don’t open the door.


  • Don’t take this medicine.
  • Do it.


  • Get out!
  • Leave!


  • Close the window, please!
  • Think about it, please!


  • Watch out!
  • Be careful!


  • Open the box.
  • Turn right.

Affirmative form


Verbs in the imperative are presented in basic or infinitive form (infinitive is when the verb is not conjugated), for example: get, come, open, sit.

  • Get out!
  • Come here.
  • Open the book.
  • Sit down!

Negative form

In negative sentences we use “do not” or “don’t” before the verb.

  • Don’t step on the grass.
  • Don’t say anything.
  • Don’t cross the line.

When giving instructions and commands, we usually use the words “first” , “then” , “next” , “after that” , and “finally” to follow through on the instructions.

Note: Using the imperative may sound rude, depending on how you address the person. So if you need to use imperatives , remember to add: “ please”, “just”, “if you don’t mind” … to soften the message.

You + imperatives

We use “You” before the verb to emphasize to the very person we are talking to.

Remembering that this emphasis usually has a negative connotation. The person speaking is fighting, cursing, or drawing attention very rudely or to defend himself.

  • You come here!
  • You get away!
  • You stop!

Using subject pronoun “You” in imperative sentences can sound very straightforward, even rude. Therefore, it should be used with caution.

Note and compare these three ways to use imperative sentences :

  • Open the door, please. (cordial request)
  • Open the door. (very straightforward, not polite)
  • You open the door. (emphasizes lack of courtesy, moodiness or unkindness, whether purposeful or not).

Do + imperatives

We use the auxiliary “Do” before the imperative verb to emphasize the request, or the advice:

  • Do talk to her.
  • Please, do come it!
  • Do help me!

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