AppStore

Download our 100% free app

Find everything you need to learn English

Practice with the exercises:
Exercise 1

1. The imperative

The imperative is mainly used to give commands, orders, instructions, warnings...

Orders
Clean your teeth, now!
Instructions
Open your books.
Warnings
Don't feed the animals.

2. How do we use the imperative?

  • Affirmative form
    In affirmative sentences, we use the verb in infinitive followed or not by a complement. There's no subject because it is understood that it is you.
    Look!
    Call the police!
  • Negative form
    In negative sentences, we use the form don't (or do + not) followed by the verb in the infinitive.
    Don't play inside the house!
    Do not talk.
There are no imperative interrogative sentences.

3. Other uses of the imperative

The imperative can also be used in the following cases:

Invitations
Come to the party tonight.
Ask for help
Help!
Advice
Be polite to your father.
If we want to express a request in a friendly way, we can put the auxiliary do or the word please at the beginning of the sentence:
Do be quiet.
Please, sit down.

4. Let's

Let's (contracted form of let us) is a very common imperative form that is used when we include ourselves in the sentence. It is usually used to make invitations or suggestions when we want someone to do something with us, but it cannot be considered an order.

  • Affirmative form
    In affirmative sentences we will put let's followed by a verb in the infinitive and a complement.
    Let's go out tonight!
    Let's watch a film.
  • Negative form
    In negative sentences, we will use the let's construction followed by the particle not, plus the verb in the infinitive and the complement.
    Let's not talk about it.
    Let's not smoke here.

Remember!

The imperative is used to give orders, instructions, advice, etc.
  Structure Examples
AFFIRMATIVE Infinitive + (complement) Take the books!
NEGATIVE Do not / Don't + infinitive + (complement) Don't open the window!
Let's is a very common way to include ourselves in the case of invitations or suggestions.
  Structure Examples
AFFIRMATIVE Let's + infinitive + (complement) Let's take the books!
NEGATIVE Let's + not + infinitive + (complement) Let's not fight!

 

Share: