Imperative

Introduction

We use the imperative for orders and commands when we are addressing one or more people directly.

Example

Passenger: Stop! Could you take me to the station, please?

Taxi driver: Of course. Get in and fasten your seatbelt!

Passenger: Don’t drive too fast, please! I get sick easily.

Taxi driver: Don’t be silly. I cannot drive fast in the rush hour traffic! And please don’t be sick in my taxi!

Usage

With the imperative, we order someone to do something or not to do something.

Example:
Stop!
Get in!
Don’t drive too fast!

To Note

In some languages it’s common to use the imperative for requests. In English, however, that would sound very rude. Therefore, when we’re making a request of someone in English, we should make it a question instead of using the imperative.

Example:
Could you take me to the station, please?
Take me to the station, please!

Construction

For the imperative, we simply take the basic form of the verb (without to).

Example:
to stop → Stop!
to get in → Get in!
to fasten the seatbelt → Fasten your seatbelt!

Negative Form

If we want to order someone not to do something, we use do + not before the verb. Most of the time we use the contraction don’t.

Example:
Don’t drive too fast!
Don’t be sick in my taxi!

We also use the helping verb do when the full verb is be.

Example:
Don’t be silly! I cannot drive fast in the rush hour traffic.

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