Imperatives Lesson Notes

We use Imperatives to tell someone to do something or to give instructions, orders, warnings or directions.

Imperatives are divided into two groups:

a) Positive Imperatives
b) Negative Imperatives

Positive Imperatives

To form a positive imperative we use the base form of the verb. The base form is the form in the dictionary.

Some verbs:

read Listen Put Go Do Work

Raise your hands
Do your homework
Speak English
Come here
Be quiet

We can also use positive imperatives by using always.

Always put on your safety belt.
Always remember my advice.

Negative Imperatives

To form a negative imperative we use:

Do not + the base form of the verb

Examples: Do not come here
Do not put your hat on the chair
Do not drink it
Do not park your car here

NOTE: The contraction for do not is don’t.

Do not come here = Don’t come here.
Do not speak Spanish in the class = Don’t speak Spanish in the class.
Do not sit there = Don’t sit there.
Do not lean out of the window = Don’t lean out of the window.

Negative Imperatives Using Never.

Never go there again.
Never leave your keys in your car.
Never steal from anyone.

The imperative does not usually have a subject, but we can use a noun or pronoun to make it clear who we are speaking to.

Mary come here
Somebody answer the phone
Nobody move
Relax, everybody

You before an imperative can suggest an emphatic persuasion or anger.

You stay home. You just sit down and relax for a bit.
You take your hands off me.

Emphatic imperatives with do + infinitive

This is common in polite requests, complaints and apologies.

Do sit down
Do listen to your father
Do forgive me
Do have some wine
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