Imperative Verbs

Understanding imperative verbs is essential when learning the English language as they play a crucial role in expressing commands, requests, and instructions. Delve into the world of imperative verbs as we explore their definition, usage, and types, including regular and irregular imperative verbs. Discover how the imperative verb tense influences the meaning of each statement and find common examples that you'll likely encounter. By the end of this article, you'll also gain insights into the importance of imperative verbs and how to use them effectively in communication, as well as tips for identifying them in different contexts. Mastering imperative verbs ensures that your communication skills are polished and accurate when providing directives and guidance to others.

Imperative Verbs Imperative Verbs

Create learning materials about Imperative Verbs with our free learning app!

  • Instand access to millions of learning materials
  • Flashcards, notes, mock-exams and more
  • Everything you need to ace your exams
Create a free account
Table of contents

    Understanding Imperative Verbs

    Imperative verbs often play a key role in how English sentences are structured. They help convey commands, requests, and instructions, thus enabling clear and effective communication. Let's delve into imperative verb moods, tenses, and types in greater detail.

    Imperative Verb Mood: Definition and Usage

    Verb moods illustrate how a verb is used in a sentence and give context to the action, state, or occurrence. Imperative verb mood specifically deals with giving instructions or making requests.

    Imperative verb mood: This mood is used for stating commands, giving advice, making suggestions, issuing invitations, and express requests.

    It is important to recognise that this mood is distinctly different from other types of verb moods, such as indicative, subjunctive, or interrogative moods.

    When using the imperative mood, the verb usually begins the sentence, omitting the subject "you" as it is implied. Additional phrases can be added to provide more context or specifics to the command.

    Examples of imperative verb mood sentences:

    • Clean your room.
    • Close the door.
    • Please pass the salt.
    • Finish your homework.

    How Imperative Verb Tense Influences Meaning

    One might argue that imperative verbs are tenseless, as they predominantly focus on the immediate future. Nevertheless, tense can have a subtle impact on the nuances of meaning in instructions and requests.

    Imperative verbs commonly use the base form of the verb – the infinitive without "to". However, the language context and auxiliary verbs may give the imperative verb a connection to a specific time or duration.

    Some examples demonstrating how context might infer an implied tense:

    • Do your homework by tomorrow (Inferring a deadline ahead in the future)
    • Keep studying until I come back (Continuing the action, inferred ongoing duration)
    • Start working on the project next week (Implied future time frame for beginning the task)

    Types of Imperative Verbs

    Imperative verbs can be categorised into two primary types: regular and irregular. The distinction is made on the basis of how they conjugate or inflect to form different tenses.

    Regular and Irregular Imperative Verbs

    Regular imperative verbs follow standard conjugation rules for various tenses, while irregular verbs do not adhere to these rules. Instead, they have their own unique conjugation pattern or don't change at all. Knowing the difference between these two imperative verb types can greatly improve your understanding and usage.

    Regular Imperative VerbsExamples
    Formed by omitting "to" from the infinitiveSpeak, Walk, Dance
    Irregular Imperative VerbsExamples
    Do not follow standard conjugation rulesBe, Do, Go

    Mastering both types of imperative verbs will ultimately enhance your command of the English language and its nuances. By understanding their correct application in various contexts, you can convey your intended message more effectively and accurately.

    Imperative Verb Examples

    By exploring a variety of imperative verb examples, you can further enrich your understanding of this unique verb mood. Familiarising yourself with common phrases and identifying specific features that set them apart from other verb forms will help you distinguish them more easily in sentences.

    Common Imperative Verb Phrases

    As previously mentioned, imperative verbs are used to issue commands, give advice, make suggestions, extend invitations, and express requests. Here, we will present numerous examples of imperative verbs embedded within these contexts. Keep an open eye for the distinct features that separate them from other verb types.


    • Lock the door.
    • Turn off the lights.
    • Feed the dog.


    • Eat a balanced diet.
    • Study hard for your exams.
    • Get regular exercise.


    • Let's go to the park today.
    • Try these new activities for a change.
    • Consider joining a club or organisation to meet new people.


    • Join us for dinner tonight.
    • Come over to celebrate our anniversary.
    • Attend our open house event next week.


    • Could you please lend me a pen?
    • Pass the sugar, please.
    • Kindly send your feedback by Friday.

    Tips for Identifying Imperative Verbs

    Identifying imperative verbs in a sentence can sometimes prove to be challenging, particularly for those who are new to the English language. The following tips may provide some assistance in distinguishing imperative verbs from others:

    1. Look for missing subject: Imperative verbs typically omit the subject "you" (both singular and plural), as it is implied. This omission is a crucial feature to look for when attempting to spot an imperative verb.
    2. Verb at the beginning: In most cases, imperative verbs are found at the beginning of a sentence. This arrangement delivers the command or instruction more directly.
    3. Exclamatory or interrogative tone: While not exclusive to imperative verb moods, sentences containing an exclamatory or interrogative tone often signal an imperative verb. Listen for statements that sound like commands or requests when spoken aloud.
    4. Auxiliary verbs: Although uncommon, auxiliary verbs like "do", "have", and "be" can sometimes accompany imperative verbs, particularly in polite requests or negative commands (e.g., "Do be quiet.", "Don't touch that.")

    While this is not an exhaustive list, these tips can serve as a practical starting point for beginners attempting to identify imperative verbs in context. As your comprehension of the English language grows, you will gradually become more adept at distinguishing between different verb moods and types.

    Imperative Verb Effect in Communication

    Imperative verbs play a vital role in communication by helping to establish clear, concise, and direct instructions or requests. By understanding their unique characteristics and employing them effectively within sentences, you can enhance your ability to convey messages and interact with others in the English language.

    The Importance of Imperative Verbs in English Language

    Imperative verbs carry significant importance in the English language due to their versatility in expressing various forms of instructions, requests, and commands. The ability to utilise these verbs ensures productive communication in a range of scenarios, from everyday conversations to professional interactions.

    Some defining characteristics that highlight their importance include:

    • Directness: Imperative verbs provide a straightforward means of conveying commands or instructions, which facilitates clear and unambiguous communication.
    • Variety of purposes: They can be used for several purposes such as giving orders, offering advice, suggesting actions, issuing invitations, and making requests, enhancing their value in diverse situations.
    • Flexibility: Imperative verbs can be adapted to convey varying degrees of politeness and formality depending on the context, tone, or choice of words used in conjunction with them.
    • Language simplicity: As they usually involve the base form of the verbs, imperative verbs simplify the language by minimising the need for complex conjugation or additional phrases.

    Due to their indispensable function in communication, imperative verbs hold a prominent position among various language elements, ensuring that intentions are accurately conveyed and understood.

    Using Imperative Verbs Effectively

    To use imperative verbs effectively, it is crucial to understand their unique features and implement them suitably in context. By considering the following tips and guidelines, you can significantly improve your practical application of imperative verbs:

    1. Choose an appropriate tone: Although imperative verbs are inherently direct, you can soften their tone by making them more polite. For instance, using phrases such as "please", "kindly", and "could you" can convey a more courteous message.
    2. Adjust the formality: Adapt your language to cater to the formality level of your conversation. For example, use more formal expressions when addressing superiors, and opt for casual tones when speaking with friends and peers.
    3. Consider the context: Employ imperative verbs accordingly based on the context, taking into account the surrounding circumstances and the nature of the intended message.
    4. Negative forms: In cases where you need to convey a negative command or prohibition, use "don't" before the main verb (e.g., "Don't touch the painting."). The employment of negation adds clarity to your instructions.
    5. Emphasise important verbs: Highlight imperative verbs within the sentence to stress their significance and ensure that the command or instruction is easily understood.

    By following these guidelines and being mindful of the various factors that impact the effectiveness of imperative verbs, you can boost your overall communication skills and convey your messages more efficiently in different situations. Remember that practice is key, and continual attention to the appropriate use of imperative verbs will lead to a more refined and well-rounded command of the English language.

    Imperative Verbs - Key takeaways

    • Imperative verbs: commands, requests, and instructions in the English language

    • Imperative verb mood: giving instructions or making requests

    • Imperative verb tense: base form of the verb, context influences meaning

    • Types of imperative verbs: regular and irregular (based on conjugation rules)

    • Importance of imperative verbs: directness, variety of purposes, flexibility, language simplicity

    Frequently Asked Questions about Imperative Verbs
    What is the imperative verb mood?
    Imperative verb mood is a grammatical mood in the English language used to give commands, instructions or make requests. It typically omits the subject and uses the base form of the verb. For example, "Close the door" or "Please pass the salt."
    What are the types of imperatives?
    There are two main types of imperatives in the English language: positive and negative. Positive imperatives give commands or instructions (e.g. "Open the door"), while negative imperatives forbid or advise against an action (e.g. "Don't touch the hot stove").
    How do you use the imperative in a sentence?
    To use an imperative in a sentence, start with the base form of a verb, followed by any necessary direct objects or adverbs. Imperatives give commands or make requests and usually omit the subject. For example: "Open the door," "Listen carefully," or "Please pass the salt."
    What is an example of an imperative verb?
    An example of an imperative verb is "listen". It is a command or instruction that directs someone to perform an action, such as "Listen carefully to the instructions."
    How do you identify an imperative verb?
    To identify an imperative verb, look for a verb that issues a command, instruction, or request. It often appears at the beginning of a sentence and is not conjugated with a subject. Imperative verbs are utilised in their base form and can stand alone or be followed by an object.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    What is the primary purpose of imperative verb mood in sentences?

    What is the main difference between regular and irregular imperative verbs?

    In a sentence using the imperative mood, where does the verb usually appear?

    About StudySmarter

    StudySmarter is a globally recognized educational technology company, offering a holistic learning platform designed for students of all ages and educational levels. Our platform provides learning support for a wide range of subjects, including STEM, Social Sciences, and Languages and also helps students to successfully master various tests and exams worldwide, such as GCSE, A Level, SAT, ACT, Abitur, and more. We offer an extensive library of learning materials, including interactive flashcards, comprehensive textbook solutions, and detailed explanations. The cutting-edge technology and tools we provide help students create their own learning materials. StudySmarter’s content is not only expert-verified but also regularly updated to ensure accuracy and relevance.

    Learn more
    StudySmarter Editorial Team

    Team Imperative Verbs Teachers

    • 9 minutes reading time
    • Checked by StudySmarter Editorial Team
    Save Explanation

    Study anywhere. Anytime.Across all devices.

    Sign-up for free

    Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.

    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App

    The first learning app that truly has everything you need to ace your exams in one place

    • Flashcards & Quizzes
    • AI Study Assistant
    • Study Planner
    • Mock-Exams
    • Smart Note-Taking
    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App