Unit 11.2

Imperative Mood


The imperative is a structure used to give an order or command.

Usually imperatives use a second person (singular/plural) subject. We usually find this structure in two forms, affirmative and negative:


Its structure, in the affirmative form, is:
Verb (infinitive without to) + …

InfinitivePositive Imperative
To eatEat!
To danceDance!
To runRun!
To sleepSleep!
To workWork!


Its structure, in the negative form, is:
Don’t + verb (infinitive without to) + …

InfinitiveNegative Imperative
To eatDon’t eat!
To danceDon’t  dance!
To runDon’t  run!
To sleepDon’t sleep!
To workDon’t work!
  1. Give orders
    • Come back!
    • Don’t play on the road!
    • Don’t listen to him!
  2. Give instructions
    • Open your book on page 40.
    • Place your bags under the seat.
    • Don’t take off your glasses during the process.
  3. Give advice
    • Talk to the doctor. He will understand.
    • Don’t buy this car. It’s too expensive.
    • Don’t speak to them. They are dangerous.
  4. On signs/notices
    • Pull.
    • Insert 1 Euro.
    • Do not disturb.
  5. Make an invitation
    • See for yourself.
    • Have some cookies.
    • Don´t be afraid to call a nurse.

The imperative is used in affirmative and negative forms. Affirmative imperatives are used to motivate or force someone to do something; while we use negative imperatives to prevent someone from doing something.

We use imperatives to:

  1. Give orders (in most cases, with the exclamation mark at the end of the sentence);
  2. Give instructions;
  3. Give advice;
  4. On signs/notices;
  5. Make an invitation (it is only used in the affirmative form).

The imperative mood implies the use of the second person (singular and plural).

  • Affirmative: orders, suggestions, advice or instructions.
    The structure is: Verb (infinitive without to) + …
  • Negative: orders, suggestions, advice or instructions to prevent someone from doing something.
    The structure is: Don’t + verb (infinitive without to) + …

For example:
— Affirmative: “Buy some food for lunch!
— Negative: “Don’t buy food for lunch!

NOTE: We usually omit the subject pronoun in imperative sentences.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.


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