Imperative Sentence - What Is It? Explore Meaning, Definition, Types, Uses and Examples

Have you ever wondered how life would go on if there was nobody to instruct or direct you so that you can do something in the way it should be done? It is for this reason that you need imperative sentences. This article will help you learn the meaning and definitions of imperative sentences, types of imperative sentences and how to use them. Check out the examples given in the article to have a clear idea of how they are used.

Table of Contents

What is an Imperative Sentence?

An imperative sentence is one which is used to express a command/order or request and also to give an instruction or some advice. Imperative sentences do not require a subject. Furthermore, remember that the verb used in an imperative sentence should always be in the simple present tense. Imperative sentences end with a full stop or an exclamation mark.

Now, look at the following definitions to understand what imperative sentences are.

Definition of an Imperative Sentence

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, an imperative sentence is defined as one “expressing an order” and according to the Cambridge Dictionary, an imperative sentence is “a sentence that gives a command or gives a request to do something”. An imperative sentence, according to the Collins Dictionary, is one that is used to denote “a mood of verbs used in giving orders, making requests, etc.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an imperative sentence as one that has the “power to restrain, control, and direct.”

Types of Imperative Sentences with Examples

Imperative sentences can be divided into two main categories according to their nature namely,

  • Positive imperative sentence
  • Negative imperative sentence

Positive Imperative Sentence

A positive imperative sentence asks one to do something.

For example:

  • Close the door.
  • Call me when you get back.
  • Wash the plates before you use them.

Negative Imperative Sentence

A negative imperative sentence is meant to do just the opposite. A negative imperative sentence instructs one not to do something.

For example:

  • Do not close the door.
  • Do not call me when you get back.
  • Do not wash the plates before you use them.

Conditional Imperative Sentences

Another type of imperative sentences is the conditional imperative sentence. These sentences include a conditional clause and are mostly in the form of complex sentences.

For example:

  • If you think you are going to be late, ask your brother to drop you off.
  • When you get home, call me.
  • Unless you want to go through all of it again, don’t do it.

Uses of Imperative Sentences

Imperative sentences can be used in a variety of ways if you learn how to do it. Also, remember that just the imperative verb alone can pass as an imperative sentence.

For example:

  • Go!
  • Quiet!
  • Run!

Now, let us look at some of the uses of imperative sentences that also categorises them into the different types. Imperative sentences can be used to do the following.

    • To make a request
    • To give a command
    • To lend an invitation
    • To give an instruction

Examples of Imperative Sentences

Given below are examples of imperative sentences that will definitely help you understand the topic better.

Making a request

  • Please help me with this.
  • Please pass the salt and pepper.
  • Please reserve a seat for me.

Giving a command

  • Don’t leave the door open.
  • Come home before sunset.
  • Finish the assignment by tomorrow.

Leading an invitation

  • Kindly join us for lunch after the reception.
  • Come with me for a movie.
  • Let us go for a walk.

Giving an instruction

  • Sauté the onions until they turn golden brown.
  • Boil the milk for at least two to three minutes.
  • Stop when you see the red light.

Check Your Understanding of Imperative Sentences

Use the most appropriate verb from the list given below to form imperative sentences.

(switch off, do, come, play, stand, close, forget, fill in, turn off, carry, submit)

1. _________ the application form and ______ them before Monday.

2. _________ the door when you go out.

3. __________ the lights after use.

4. Please _________ home when you are free.

5. ______ all the documents that are required for verification.

6. _______ in the ascending order of your height.

7. ________ (negative) to carry an umbrella.

8. Let’s ______.

9. _______ your homework.

10. ________ your mobile phones before the meeting starts.

The answers are given below. Check out if you got it right.

1. Fill in the applications and submit them before Monday.

2. Close the door when you go out.

3. Turn off the lights after use.

4. Please come home when you are free.

5. Carry all the documents that are required for verification.

6. Stand in the ascending order of your height.

7. Don’t forget to carry an umbrella.

8. Let’s play.

9. Do your homework.

10. Switch off your mobile phones before the meeting starts.

Frequently Asked Questions on Imperative Sentences in English

What is an imperative sentence?

An imperative sentence is one which is used to express a command/order or request and also to give an instruction or some advice. Imperative sentences do not necessarily require a subject.

What is the definition of an imperative sentence?

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, an imperative sentence is defined as one “expressing an order” and according to the Cambridge Dictionary, an imperative sentence is “a sentence that gives a command or gives a request to do something”. An imperative sentence, according to the Collins Dictionary, is one that is used to denote “a mood of verbs used in giving orders, making requests, etc.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an imperative sentence as one that has the “power to restrain, control, and direct.”

What are the uses of imperative sentences?

Imperative sentences can be used to perform the following functions:

  • To make a request
  • To give a command
  • To lend an invitation
  • To give an instruction

What are the types of imperative sentences?

Positive imperative sentences, negative imperative sentences and conditional imperative sentences are the types of imperative sentences.

Give some examples of imperative sentences.

Given below are a few examples of imperative sentences.

  • Please pass the salt and pepper.
  • Please reserve a seat for me.
  • Saute the onions until they turn golden brown.
  • Boil the milk for at least two to three minutes.
  • Come with me for a movie.
  • Let us go for a walk.
  • Come home before sunset.
  • Finish the assignment by tomorrow.

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