How to use the imperative Form in English

The Imperative in English


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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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