How to use the imperative Form in English

The Imperative in English




Feel free to leave a comment if you find any errors or if you have any suggestions to make to improve this lesson.

Imperative is used to give instructions, orders, instructions, advice, warn or invite someone to do something:

To use the imperative in English, we use an infinitive verb:

  • Clean the kitchen. 
  • Open the window. 
  • Leave me alone!
  • Wear a jacket, its too cold outside! 

To the negative form it is necessary to add ‘do not’ or ‘don’t’ (do not is more insistent than don’t).

  • Do not smoke! 
  • Don’t go! 
  • Don’t leave the door open. 
  • Don’t talk to me. 

Using the imperative

1. To give instructions

  • Push the red button.
  • Turn right after the post office.

2. To give an order

  • Come here!
  • Sit down! 
  • Stop talking!
  • Go out 

3. To give advice

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Tell him what you really think.

4. To invite someone to do something (preferably with Please)

  • Please, come to the party! 
  • Please hold the line. 
  • Please, have a drink.
  • Please wait here. 

English people use the word Kindly in writing to make a request:

  • Kindly send me a copy of the last email as soon as possible.

We can also use just, please or if you wouldn’t mind to make the imperative less brutal and more polite:

  • Come with me, please, if you wouldn’t mind. 
  • Just give me a minute, please. 

5. To warn

  • Stop! 
  • Help! 
  • Watch out! / Look out! 
  • Don’t move!

Using DO with the imperative

DO can be used before the imperative to emphasize what you mean:

  • Do drink plenty of water.

You can also accentuate imperative sentences by using Never or Always before the main verb:

  • Never drive without a seatbelt. 
  • Always wash your hand before lunch. 

The imperative with let’s (= contraction of let us)

  • Let’s have a break. 
  • Let’s not tell him about it.
  • Let’s ask this man. 
  • Let’s not forget to close the door. 

Some common phrases to the imperative

  • Have fun
  • Hurry up 
  • Enjoy your meal. 
  • Don’t be late. 
  • Keep quiet. 
  • Give me a minute 
  • Don’t worry 
  • Please take a seat. 



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