Forming Imperatives with Examples – Hurry up! Go slow!

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Meaning of Imperatives and their use

Imperative Sentences give direction. For example, someone may say, “Marry me, you dashing (stylish and energetic) and debonair (kind and well mannered) gentleman (a polite form of man).”

Speaking of politeness, these word groupings aren’t necessarily so. In fact, they can be curt (rudely brief in speech or abrupt in manner).

To clarify, Imperative Sentences are sometimes called directives because they provide direction to the listener. They are used to give commands, instructions, advice, and issue warnings. And you may have read ‘Don’t touch’ on instructions for electronics. 

More examples include: 

  • Don’t touch the drawer!
  • Turn the TV off.
  • Wash the dishes
  • Wait for me.
  • Get out! 

All of which are commands. These commands inform the listener of what they must do, there’s no room for negotiation. 

Imperative sentences usually end with a period but can end with an exclamation point, the punctuation mark that looks like an upside-down keyhole (!). For instance, “Get out” is a strong way of saying leave my presence. 

Negative Imperatives

What do I need to know about forming negative imperatives?

Another type of Imperative Sentence is the Negative Imperative. These sentences usually include the word “don’t.” For example, you may have yelled, “Don’t run” at your children. And, your parents might have said to you, “Don’t keep opening and closing the fridge!” Or, “Don’t leave the door open, we weren’t born in a barn,” which is an idiom that may or may not translate into your mother tongue. 

All of this aside, my favorite grouping of imperatives I’ve ever heard is:

“Hurry up! Go slow!”

A seemingly contradictory statement. It means to quickly but safely do something. 

Examples of imperatives

  1. Ladies, please go this way. 

2. Marina! Stop! Don’t move!

3. Go straight and then turn left on the next street. 

Let’s practice 

Q1: Try making your own sentence. 

Q2: Give an example of a command you would give to your own children. 

Q3: What instructions do teachers usually say to students? 

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