Imperative Sentence

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Created by: Team English -, Last Updated: May 6, 2024

Imperative Sentence

One of the most important thing that language has given us is that it helps us in expressing the chaotic mess of our different thoughts and emotions into a comprehensive manner. With the use of combining words and forming it into sentences, we are already deciphering our thoughts and emotions to help us in communicating with other people.

There are four types of sentences which can help us in expressing our thoughts and feelings. These are declarative, interrogative, exclamatory sentences, and imperative sentences.

Supposing if we would like to give someone instructions on how to do a certain thing, which among the types of sentences should we use in order to do so? It’s rather simple– we make use of an imperative sentence.

What is a Imperative Sentence? – Definition

An Imperative Sentence is a type of sentence that gives instructions, commands, or requests. It is used to tell someone to do something, and it typically ends with a period, but can also end with an exclamation point to convey urgency or high emotion. Imperative sentences usually omit the subject “you,” as it is implied. This makes them straightforward and direct, making it clear what action is expected. Here are some characteristics and examples to better understand imperative sentences:

Characteristics of Imperative Sentences

Characteristics of Imperative Sentence

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  • Direct Command: Imperative sentences often issue a command or directive. For example: “Close the door.”
  • Requests: They can be polite requests. For example: “Please pass the salt.”
  • Instructions: They provide step-by-step instructions. For example: “Insert your card.”
  • Invitations: Imperative sentences can also extend invitations. For example: “Join us for dinner.”
  • Warnings or Advisories: They may issue a warning or advice. For example: “Do not enter.”

Imperative Sentence Structure

Basic Structure

  • Verb (Base Form): Imperative sentences start with the verb in its base form (without “to” and without conjugation according to subject). This verb directly tells the listener or reader what action to perform.
  • Implied Subject “You”: The subject “you” is understood and is usually not stated explicitly. This makes the command or request direct and personal.
  • Optional Elements: These can include objects or complements that provide more information about the action, as well as modifiers that add detail or clarity to the verb.

Detailed Explanation

1. Direct Command or Request

  • Verb + Object/Complement (Optional): “Open the window.” / “Please, open the window.”
  • The direct command form is straightforward, beginning with the action word followed by any details necessary to complete the understanding of the command.

2. Adding Modifiers

  • Verb + Modifiers (Adverbs, Prepositional Phrases): “Speak softly.” / “Walk towards the park.”
  • Modifiers provide additional information about how, where, when, or to what extent the action should be performed.

3. Negative Commands

  • “Do not” + Verb: “Do not touch the wet paint.”
  • Negative commands or prohibitions start with “do not” (or “don’t” for a more informal tone), followed by the base form of the verb.

4. Question Form

  • Verb + Subject (for polite requests): “Could you please close the door?”
  • While not a classic imperative structure, this form is often used to make polite requests that function similarly to imperative sentences.

5.Examples in Context

  • Command: “Leave the room.”
  • Request with Object: “Pass me the salt, please.”
  • Instruction with Modifier: “Drive straight for two miles.”
  • Negative Command: “Don’t forget your keys.”
  • Polite Question Form: “Would you mind closing the window?”

Identifying Imperative Sentences

Since there are three possible punctuation marks that can be used in ending an imperative sentence, some people find it tricky to distinguish an imperative sentence from a declarative, interrogative or an exclamatory one.

But the key to immediately identify an imperative sentence is simply to look at the verb being used. Does it issue a command? Does it ask a favor? Does it make any form of request? Does it give an instruction? If your answer is yes to any one of the questions then you have unlocked the first step in identifying an imperative sentence.

The next thing to look out for after identifying the verb is the subject used in the sentence. Most of the time, the subject of an imperative sentence is implied, thus, it is not stated or laid out obviously for you to identify. This is because imperative sentences are written to give a direct order. The subject is always implied in the second person which is you.

Take a look at these examples:

  • (You) come with me to church.
  • (You) take the package before you leave school.
  • (You) open up your deepest and darkest secrets with me.
  • (You) say my name again, will you?
  • (You) tell me what you think.
  • (You) stop playing with that campfire now!
  • (You) give your full name, please.

Imperative Sentences vs. Declarative Sentences

Feature Imperative Sentences Declarative Sentences
Purpose To give commands, requests, or instructions. To make statements or express facts.
Ending Punctuation Usually ends with a period, but can also end with an exclamation mark for emphasis. Always ends with a period.
Subject The subject (you) is usually implied and not explicitly stated. The subject is explicitly stated and can be a person, place, thing, or idea.
Example “Please submit your report by Monday.” “The report is due on Monday.”
Tone Can vary from commanding to polite, depending on context and wording. Neutral, stating a fact or opinion without commanding.
Use in Conversation Commonly used in direct communication, giving orders or making requests. Used to share information, thoughts, or feelings.
Formality Can be both formal or informal, depending on the context and choice of words. Primarily neutral but can be adjusted to formal or informal contexts.

For example:

Declarative sentence: Alex, pass the salt.

Imperative sentence: Pass the salt.

Imperative Sentences vs. Interrogative Sentences

Aspect Imperative Sentences Interrogative Sentences
Definition Sentences that give commands, requests, or express wishes. Sentences that ask questions.
Primary Purpose To instruct, command, or request. To inquire or seek information.
Punctuation Often end with a period, but can also end with an exclamation mark for emphasis. End with a question mark.
Sentence Structure Usually begins with a verb and may not explicitly mention the subject since it is often implied. Begins with a helping verb or a question word (who, what, where, when, why, how).
Example “Please submit your reports by Monday.” “Can you submit your reports by Monday?”
Tone Can vary from polite requests to strict commands, depending on the context and punctuation used. Typically seeks information, clarification, or confirmation.
Subject Presence The subject (you) is usually implied and not stated explicitly. The subject is usually mentioned explicitly, either before or after the verb.
Usage Context Used in giving instructions, making requests, or expressing desires. Used in asking questions to gain information, clarification, confirmation, or understanding.

Interrogative sentence: Will you pass the salt, Alex?

Imperative sentence: Please pass the salt, will you?

Imperative Sentences vs. Exclamatory Sentences

Aspect Imperative Sentences Exclamatory Sentences
Definition Sentences that give commands, requests, or instructions. Sentences that express strong feelings or emotions, ending with an “!”
Purpose To direct someone to do something. To express surprise, excitement, happiness, or anger.
Punctuation Usually ends with a period (.), but can end with an exclamation mark (!) if expressing a strong command. Always ends with an exclamation mark (!).
Tone Can be authoritative, directive, or polite. Expressive, conveying excitement or intensity.
Examples “Close the door.” “What a beautiful day!”
“Please submit your report by tomorrow.” “I can’t believe you won!”
Usage in Speech Often used in giving orders, making requests, or providing instructions. Used to convey emotions or reactions verbally.
Subject Presence The subject (you) is usually implied and not explicitly stated. The subject is usually explicit.
Formal vs. Informal Can be used in both formal and informal contexts depending on the tone. Primarily informal due to the emotional content.

For example:

Exclamatory sentence: Alex, pass the salt!

Imperative sentence: Pass the salt!

Modifying an Imperative Sentence

Imperative sentences are actually binary; meaning, the expected results of a directive could be either positive or negative.

One indication that the imperative used in the sentence is positive if it uses affirmative verbs while a negative imperative does otherwise.

Foe example:

Positive: Eat the cookies.

Negative: Do not eat the cookies.

Sometimes, the direct way of giving an imperative sentences can sound harsh or demeaning. But you can soften the delivery of the imperative by asking the request politely through adding the words do or just at the beginning of the sentence and please at the end of the sentence.

Softened imperatives: Just stay with me, please?

Types of Imperative Sentences

There are four types of imperative sentences.

a. Making a request or wish

This kind of imperative makes a request or a wish for someone in a more polite manner.


  • Have fun at the party tonight!
  • Eat lots of vegetables.
  • Have a safe trip!
  • Do good at school.
  • Be kind to your neighbors.
  • Love your enemies.
  • Please, lock the door before you leave.
  • Change your clothes after playing games outside.
  • Please hand me the keys.
  • Pass the bowl of rice.

b. Giving an invitation

Imperative sentences can be used when you would want to extend an invitation in a way that you do not need to directly ask someone to come because the tone of an imperative sentence that gives an invitation already insists for you to accept the invitation.


  • Come to the ball with me.
  • Please join our table during the ball.
  • Let’s go to the ball together as a group of friends.
  • Visit us at the venue where the ball will be held.
  • Join our dance group that will have a special performance during the ball.
  • Please join the after party of the ball.
  • Come and celebrate the festivities before the night of the ball with me.
  • Please go and meet me at the middle of the dance floor after you perform.
  • Attend the ball, will you?
  • Meet me outside the venue of the ball.

c. Giving a request or command

The difference between this type of imperative sentence versus the type of imperative sentence that gives a request or wish is that this type of request or command is given in a firmly manner.


  • Don’t take things too seriously.
  • Take your medicines now.
  • Stop eating too much!
  • Go find the nurse quickly!
  • Stop this mess!
  • Look for the doctor!
  • Lock the door!
  • Tell her I need her right now.
  • Do not stall.
  • Run for your life!

d. Giving instructions

This is the common and usual type of an imperative sentence. Here is a recipe of baking a basic sugar cookie. Notice that every single step is using an imperative sentence.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl.
  3. Set the mixture aside.
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until the mixture becomes smooth.
  5. Beat in egg and vanilla along with the creamed butter and sugar.
  6. Blend in the dry ingredients.
  7. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls.
  8. Place the balls of dough on an cookie sheets that has no grease.
  9. Bake 8 up to 10 minutes, or until golden, in the preheated oven.
  10. Let it stand on the cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Other Functions of Imperative Sentences

Aside from the obvious fact that imperative sentences has the main function to give out directives, imperative sentences are also useful in literature, advertising and even in law-making. Imperative sentences are very much useful in our day-to-day lives.

In literature such as the bible, specifically in the chapter where the ten commandments is being narrated, most of the text are actually written as imperative statements.

  • Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
  • Honor your father and your mother.
  • Do not kill.
  • Do not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

In advertising, imperatives are also prominent.

  • Buy one and save 50% on your next purchase.
  • Buy now while supplies last!
  • Taste the feeling. (Coca Cola trademark)
  • Have a break, have a KitKat. (KitKat trademark)
  • Just do it. (Nike trademark)

While you are riding or driving a car, you might see signs in the roads that are actually imperatives.

  • Do not enter.
  • Do not left turn.
  • Turn right when red light is on.
  • Do not U-turn.
  • Cross the pedestrian lane.

How to Soften Imperative Sentences

Softening imperative sentences is an essential skill for polite and effective communication, especially in sensitive or formal contexts. Here are strategies to make imperative sentences softer and more polite:

1. Use “Please”

Adding “please” at the beginning or end of the sentence instantly makes it more polite.

  • Direct: “Pass the salt.”
  • Softened: “Please pass the salt.”

2. Incorporate Modal Verbs

Modal verbs like “could,” “would,” or “might” reduce the directness of a command.

  • Direct: “Send me the report.”
  • Softened: “Could you send me the report?”

3. Employ Softening Phrases

Introduce your request or command with phrases that imply consideration for the listener.

  • Direct: “Close the window.”
  • Softened: “Would you mind closing the window?”

4. Use the Imperative Form as a Question

Phrasing your imperative as a question can make it seem like you’re seeking agreement rather than issuing a command.

  • Direct: “Use the back door.”
  • Softened: “Could you use the back door, please?”

5. Add a Reason

Providing a reason for your request can make it more understandable and soften the tone.

  • Direct: “Turn down the music.”
  • Softened: “Could you turn down the music? I have a headache.”

6. Include “Let’s” for Inclusive Actions

Using “let’s” makes the action seem shared, reducing the forcefulness of the command.

  • Direct: “Clean the kitchen.”
  • Softened: “Let’s clean the kitchen together.”

7. Suggest Rather Than Command

Using suggestive language can make your imperative less direct.

  • Direct: “Submit your assignment by Friday.”
  • Softened: “I suggest submitting your assignment by Friday to avoid any penalties.”

8. Use Conditional Clauses

Starting with “If you could” or “If you would” makes the request seem optional, thus softer.

  • Direct: “Email me the details.”
  • Softened: “If you could email me the details, that would be great.”

9. Employ the Passive Voice

While generally, active voice is preferred for clarity, using the passive voice can sometimes soften a request.

  • Direct: “Complete the form.”
  • Softened: “The form needs to be completed, please.”

10. Express Gratitude in Advance

Acknowledging the effort of the person helps in making your request come across as more considerate.

  • Direct: “Help me with this project.”
  • Softened: “I would really appreciate your help with this project.”

Check Your Understanding of Imperative Sentences

To ensure you’ve grasped the concept of imperative sentences, let’s go through a few checks and exercises. Imperative sentences are crucial for conveying commands, requests, advice, or instructions in a direct manner. Understanding their structure and purpose is key to using them effectively in both written and spoken English.

True or False Questions

  1. Imperative sentences always end with an exclamation mark. True or False?
  2. The subject of an imperative sentence is usually ‘you’ and is often implied. True or False?
  3. Imperative sentences can only be used to give orders. True or False?
  4. It’s possible to use imperative sentences to make polite requests. True or False?
  5. Imperative sentences are only used in informal settings. True or False?

Fill in the Blanks

  1. To make an imperative sentence polite, it’s common to start the sentence with “Please” or __________.
  2. An imperative sentence giving advice might start with the word “Always” or __________.
  3. When an imperative sentence is used to give instructions, it often starts with a verb like “Turn,” “Mix,” or __________.
  4. An imperative sentence that issues a command might use verbs like “Stop,” “Listen,” or __________.

Short Answer Questions

  1. How can you turn the command “Close the door” into a polite request?
  2. What is the implied subject in the imperative sentence “Submit your assignment by Monday”?
  3. Give an example of an imperative sentence that expresses a warning.
  4. How would you differentiate between an imperative sentence and an exclamatory sentence?

Practical Exercise

  • Create Your Own: Write a short paragraph including at least three different imperative sentences directed towards someone learning a new skill. Make sure to vary your tone and purpose (e.g., a command, a request, and advice).

Answers Section:

True or False Answers

  1. False. They often end with a period, but can end with an exclamation mark for emphasis.
  2. True. The subject ‘you’ is understood.
  3. False. They can also be used to offer advice, make requests, or give instructions.
  4. True. Adding “please” can soften the command into a polite request.
  5. False. They can be used in both formal and informal contexts, depending on the tone and wording.

Fill in the Blanks Answers

  1. “kindly”
  2. “Remember”
  3. “Insert”
  4. “Go”

Short Answer Answers

  1. “Please close the door.”
  2. The implied subject is ‘you’.
  3. “Beware of the dog.”
  4. An imperative sentence issues commands or requests, while an exclamatory sentence expresses strong emotion and ends with an exclamation mark


Can an Imperative Sentence Also Be a Declarative, Interrogative, or Exclamatory Sentence?

No, imperative sentences cannot simultaneously be declarative, interrogative, or exclamatory. Each type serves a unique function: imperatives command or request; declaratives state facts; interrogatives ask questions; and exclamatory sentences express strong emotion.

What is Imperative and Its Example?

An imperative sentence issues commands, requests, or instructions directly. It often omits the subject, implying “you.” For example, “Close the door,” is a clear directive to perform the action of closing the door.

What Are the Three Main Types of Sentences?

The three main types of sentences are declarative (makes a statement), interrogative (asks a question), and imperative (gives a command or makes a request). Each type serves a different purpose in communication.

What is an Imperative Sentence for Class 7?

For Class 7, an example of an imperative sentence might be, “Complete your homework before dinner.” This sentence directly commands or instructs the student to finish their homework, targeting an action to be completed.

Knowing more about the types of sentences gives more depth and detail in our way of communicating with other people. With the proper usage, imperative sentences can be a tool for better understanding in our daily interactions and communication.

Imperative Sentence Generator

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