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Imperatives

In sentences like Come here, Be quite, and Get me a drink, the verb forms come, be and get are called imperatives.

Affirmative imperatives have the same form as the infinitive without to. Negative imperatives are constructed with do not (donít) + infinitive.

  • Try again.
  • Enjoy your holiday.
  • Donít lean out of the window.

Imperatives are used, for example, to tell or ask people what to do, to make suggestions, to give advice or instructions and to express wishes for peopleís welfare.

The imperative does not usually have a subject, but we can use a noun or pronoun to make it clear who we are talking to.

  • Somebody answer the phone.
  • Alice come here.

In writing, an imperative is often punctuated with an exclamation mark.

  • Wash your hands!
  • Do your homework!
  • Donít smoke in the house!

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