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English definition of “imperative”


adjective (GRAMMAR)    /ɪmˈper.ə.tɪv/ US  /-t̬ɪv/ specialized
used to describe the form of a verb that is usually used for giving orders : In the phrase ' Leave him alone !', the verb ' leave ' is in the imperative form .Verb forms, tenses and types of verbs Grammar:Clause typesThere are four basic types of main clause: declaratives (statements), interrogatives (questions), imperatives (orders/instructions) and exclamatives (used for exclamations).Grammar:Declarative clausesDeclarative clauses most commonly function as statements. The usual word order is subject (s) + verb (v) + x. Declaratives can be affirmative or negative. They make statements about how things are and how they are not.Grammar:Interrogative clausesInterrogative clauses most commonly function as questions. The usual word order is (wh-word) + auxiliary/modal verb (aux/m) + subject + verb + x:Grammar:Imperative clausesImperative clauses most commonly function as commands, instructions or orders. The usual word order is verb + x. We do not usually include the subject in an imperative clause. We use the base form of the verb:Grammar:Exclamative clausesExclamative clauses usually have one of the following word orders:Grammar:Commands and instructionsGrammar:Giving commandsWe often use an imperative in commands, and we also use must. They both sound very direct:Grammar:Giving instructionsWe use instructions to tell someone how to do something. We usually use imperatives. They do not sound too direct in this context:Grammar:Imperative clauses (Be quiet!)We use imperative clauses when we want to tell someone to do something (most commonly for advice, suggestions, requests, commands, orders or instructions).Grammar:Imperatives with subject pronounsFor emphasis, we can use you in an imperative clause:Grammar:Imperatives with doWe can use emphatic do in short answers without a main verb:Grammar:Imperatives with let (let’s)We use let to form first person and third person imperatives.Grammar:Negative imperativesTo make negative imperatives, we use the auxiliary do + not + the infinitive without to. The full form do not, is rather formal. In speaking, we usually use don’t:Grammar:Negative imperatives with subject pronounWe can use emphatic pronoun you or anyone/anybody after don’t in negative imperatives, especially in informal speaking:Grammar:Negative imperative of let’sWe often use the phrase let’s not:Grammar:Question tags commonly used after imperativesWe sometimes use question tags with imperatives. They make the imperative less direct:Grammar:Imperatives as offers and invitationsWe can use imperatives to make offers and invitations:
(Definition of imperative adjective (GRAMMAR) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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