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Unit 11.1

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:


The affirmative imperative has the same structure as the infinitive but without the “to”.

to eat Eat!
to dance Dance!
to run Run!
to sleep Sleep!
to work Work!


The negative imperative has this structure:
Don’t + verb (infinitive without “to”).

to eat Don’t eat!
to dance Don’t  dance!
to run Don’t  run!
to sleep Don’t sleep!
to work Don’t work!
  1. Give orders
    • Go!
    • Come back!
    • Don’t play on the road!
    • Don’t listen to him!
  2. Give instructions
    • Open your books to page 40.
    • Place your bags under the seat.
    • Don’t put plastic into the oven.
    • Don’t take off your glasses during the process.
  3. Give advice
    • Talk to the nurse. She will understand.
    • Ask him. He should know.
    • 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.
    • Do not cross the border.
  5. Make an invitation
    • Sit down and relax.
    • Help yourself.
    • Have some cookies.

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 advice;
  2. Give orders;
  3. Give instructions;
  4. On signs/notices.
  5. Make an invitation: It is only used in affirmative form.

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

We use affirmative imperatives to give orders, suggestions, advice or instructions. Affirmative imperatives have the same form as the infinitive but without the “to”.

We use negative imperatives to give orders, suggestions, advice or instructions to prevent someone from doing something. The structure to form a negative imperative is: Don’t + verb (infinitive without “to”).

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

NOTE: Usually we 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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