Understanding and Examples of the English Imperative Mood

Understanding and Examples of the English Imperative Mood

Definition of Imperative

The imperative mood is a verb used to give commands, warnings, advice, instructions, or requests in English.

It is one of the three verb moods in the English language, alongside the subjunctive and indicative moods.

Rules for Using the Imperative

Here are some rules for using verbs, sentence subjects, and auxiliary verbs (do) in sentences with the imperative mood.

1. The verb used is a bare infinitive (without "to").
  • Go!, Be Careful!, Sit down!

2. This verb does not require the addition of a subject because the subject "you" is implied (elliptical construction).
  • Shut the window!

3. To make the verb more polite, you can add "do" in front of it.
  • Do open the door.

4. The negative form is created by adding "don't" or "do not" in front of the verb.
  • Do not step on the grass.
  • Don't be careless.

5. If the speaker is involved in the action proposed in the sentence, you can add "let's" or "let us" in front of the verb, or the negative form "let's not."
  • Let's go to the wedding ceremony.
  • Let's not complain anymore.

Various Functions and Examples of the Imperative Mood

1. The imperative mood is used to give direct orders or commands, typically by someone with authority or to children and animals. When using the imperative mood in a sentence, the intonation falls at the end of the sentence.
  • Wake up now!
  • Get out!

2. The imperative is used to issue warnings or prohibitions, often to alert someone to danger. The intonation rises on the last word.
  • Watch out!
  • Don't touch me!

3. The imperative is used to provide advice. Sentences are spoken with normal intonation.
  • Don't panic.
  • Don't eat too much.

4. The imperative is used to give instructions or guidance.
  • Go straight ahead then turn left.
  • Take the pill after a meal.

5. The imperative is used to make requests. To make the verb more polite, the word "please" can be added.
  • Please don't go.
  • Please reconsider.
  • Please let me alone.
  • Polite requests: Would you kindly give me some food, please? Could you please stay here? Will you invite him, please?