IMPERATIVE: DO THIS, DON'T DO THAT
Please sit down and listen to my story
What grammar construction did I just use?
Write down the new words.
This is called “the imperative”. We use it to tell other people what to do.
How do we form the imperative?
This is actually extremely easy.
We just use the infinitive form of the verb (without to) – the bare infinitive.
This is a positive imperative.
When we don't want someone to do something, we use the negative imperative.
Don't go there!
Don't + infinitive without to.
If we include ourselves in the imperative, we use “Let's” or “let's not” before the infinitive.
Let's go to the park!
I mean that I want to go to the park with everybody together.
Let's not make quick decisions.
I want everybody, including me, not to make quick decisions.
We can use the imperative to give orders. We order someone to do something.
• Give that back!
• Don't put your fingers in the socket!
• Sit down.
What will you tell your child if he or she wants to touch a hot kettle? You'll say:
“Don't touch it!” or “Don't move!”
We can use the imperative to give instructions. That's what your teacher does at every lesson.
• Open your books to page 18.
• Read the text.
• Match the sentences.
What did your teacher tell you to do at the previous lesson?
We can have instructions to some device, or even for a recipe:
• To turn it on, press the power button.
• To save a file, click the “save” button.
• Heat the milk and pour it into the cup.
How can I cook borsh?
We can use the imperative to make an invitation or offer.
• Please join us.
• Have a drink with me!
• Let's go to the movies.
• Please come to my party this afternoon.
You are sitting alone and doing your homework. Your friend walks by, also getting ready to do her homework. What can you say?
That's right, you can say:
“Please sit and work with me” or “Let's do our homework together!”
You can sometimes see the imperative on signs and notices.
• Don't smoke.
• Push or Pull.
• Insert fifty cents.
What signs can we have in public transport? We can have
“Pay the driver!”
“Don't bring pets on the train”
“Don't stand near the yellow line”
If we want to make an imperative to sound politely, we can add “Please” in front of the imperative. We can use it in front of a positive and negative imperative.
• Please come here.
• Please don't call her.
We can use “do” in front of a positive imperative to make it sound more polite.
• Do talk to me!
• Do stay for another half-hour!
Now you know how to give instructions and invitations. Do practice with our practice podcast
Thank you for listening!