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

Imperatives are divided into two groups:

a) Positive Imperatives
b) Negative Imperatives

Subject Exercise:

Imperatives Exercise

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 imperative verbs:

read, listen, put, run, walk, move, eat...

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 / Don't Ever

Never go there again.
Never leave your keys in your car.
Never steal from anyone.
Don't ever steal from anyone.
Don't ever leave your keys in your car.

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 punish me.
Do have some wine.

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