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The form and use of the imperative


Form of the imperative

The imperative form is the same as the bare infinitive. It has only one form for both second person singular and plural 'you'

Examples:

  • hurry up; you'll be late
  • go out immediately

In the negative form you add 'do not' or 'don't'

Examples:

  • Don't disturb me; I'm working.
  • Do not smoke!

Use of the imperative

You can use the imperative to give instructions, commands, advice or to invite:

1. To give instructions

  • Push the button
  • Turn left

2. To give commands

  • Stop saying nonesense
  • don't lie.

3. To give advice

  • Go to hospital; you are ill
  • Tell her that you love her

4. To invite

  • Please, come to the party
  • Have a drink

Use of the emphatic do with the imperative

You can use 'do' before the imperative to emphasize what you want to say:

Example:

  • Do write down your name.
  • Do think of our offer.

Related page

Exercise: the imperative