The imperative mood

There are three moods in English – the indicative mood, the imperative mood and the subjunctive mood.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the imperative mood.

Read the sentences given below.

1. Keep to the left.

2. Keep quiet.

3. Get lost.

4. Drive slowly.

5. Come at once.

6. Never postpone till tomorrow what you can do today.

7. Be regular and systematic in your work.

8. Speak the truth, whatever happens.

9. Forgive us our sins.

10. God, have mercy upon us.

Here the first five sentences are commands. Sentences 6, 7 and 8 contain solemn advice. Sentences 9 and 10 are petitions or prayers.
A sentence which contains a command, a piece of advice or a petition is said to be in the imperative mood.

The subject of the imperative sentence is generally ‘you’. It is usually omitted.

Sentences beginning with the auxiliary verb ‘let’ are also considered as imperative sentences.

Let me speak.

Let us go.

Let him stay.

Let them play.

Sentences expressing a supposition are also considered as imperative sentences.

Give him an inch and he will take a mile. (= If you give him an inch, he will take a mile.)

Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves. (= If you take care of the pence, the pounds will take care of themselves.)