Learn grammar: Imperatives

The language focus in Episode 3 Blue of the Fortune drama series is Imperatives.

Imperatives are generally a straightforward area of grammar – we use this form to tell someone what to do. However, while the common uses of imperatives such as “hurry up” or “shut the door” are mostly recognisable, it is always important to look at the language structure in use.

For this particular grammar focus we concentrate on five uses of Imperatives:

  1. Verb                                       e.g.       Hurry!                            or        Stop!
  2. Be + adjective                    e.g.       Be quiet!                       or        Be nice.
  3. Verb + adverb                    e.g        Get out!                          or        Look outside.
  4. Verb + object                      e.g        Pass the pen                or        Bring the coffee.
  5. Verb + object + object    e.g         Hand me the knife    or        Pass me the sugar.

How we use the imperative form can determine the tone of the message. For example, adding a simple word such as ‘please’ can turn the statement ‘be quiet’ from a strong emphatic message, into ‘please be quiet’ a more polite delivery.

Use of the imperative form may also be influenced by the relationship between the sender and receiver of the message. A brother and sister relationship may find it natural to use a form like ‘get out!’ to express their desire for one or the other to be left alone. Two people who have only known each other for a short period of time are much less likely to use this form of language (if the intention is to remain friendly!).

For more information on Imperatives, remember to follow our weekly grammar series on the Chasing Time English TV YouTube channel:

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