1. What are imperatives?

Imperatives are used to tell people to do something.

Imperatives can be used:
– to give orders
– to give instructions
– to invite people to do something
– on signs

2. How are imperatives made

Most sentences use subject + verb + object.
However, imperatives do not use a subject. This means the verb is the first, and most important, word.

Sentence (with subject)Imperative (without subject)
I closed the door.Close the door.
You should be careful.Be careful.
She will kill him.Kill him.

3. Imperatives that give orders

Some imperatives are said strongly, demanding a person do something.

Be quiet!Listen to the teacher.
Stop calling me.Don’t look at me.
Go to school. Tidy your room.
Come here.Go away.

4. Imperatives that give instructions

For imperatives that tell people how to do something, the opening verb acts as a guide.

Write your name in the box.Place your right hand on her waist.
Make sentences using these words.Glue part 1 to part 2.
Send your application before the 10th.Cook the meat for 15 minutes, then add the vegetables.
Wash at a cold temperature.Open the box and take out the pieces.

5. Imperatives that invite people to act

Invitations to act are often used as offers of kindness. They do not demand a person do something, but do tell a person you truly want them to take up your offer of kindness.

Have a seat.Take 10 minutes off.
Help yourself.Take your shoes off and relax a little.
Take anything you want. Please, come to my birthday party.
Put your bags on the table.Eat, eat.

6. Imperatives on signs

Rules must be clear instructions. They strongly tell a person what they can or cannot do.

Do not enter.Close after using.
Shake before use.Stop at the junction.
Press here to turn on.Shower before swimming.
Wash separately.Twist the cap to open.

7. Using ‘do’ to be more polite

Placing the word ‘do’ in front of the imperative can make it more polite.
However, that politeness may not be sincere.

PoliteInsincere politeness
Do sit down.Do shut up.
Please, do come.Do go away.
Do be good. Oh, do grow up.
Do help yourself to wine.Do tell me why I should listen to you this time.