What is the Imperative Mood?

Imperative mood definition: The imperative mood is the grammatical form used when giving a command or a request.

What is Imperative Mood?

Imperative mood meaning: When forming a request or command, a sentence is written in the imperative mood.

Imperative Mood Examples:

  • Lindsey, please go clean your room.
  • After you have cleaned your room, take the trash out to the garage.
  • Don’t stop on second base; run to third!

What is Mood? – Grammatical Moods Explained

imperative tenseWhat does mood mean? Mood, in the grammatical sense, is the form in which a verb takes to show how it should be regarded. Is the writer expressing a fact, a command, or something hypothetical? The mood of the verb indicates this.

In English, there are many different grammatical moods. Here, we will briefly outline three: indicative, imperative and subjunctive.

The indicative mood expresses a statement or a question.

Indicative Mood Examples:

  • My goals for the year are to read and exercise more.
  • Are you going to the midnight showing of the new Harry Potter movie?

The imperative mood expresses a command.

Imperative Mood Examples:

  • Please go walk the dog.
  • Turn the music down, so I can hear the news.

The subjunctive mood expresses a situation that is doubtful, hypothetical, not factual.

Subjunctive Mood Examples:

  • If she were to be elected mayor, the city would be in trouble.
  • If I were you, I would be careful of what I wish for because you may be filled with regrets.

What Does the Imperative Mood Communicate?

imperative verb moodThe imperative mood communicates a command to your readers or listeners. There are few different types of commands that the imperative mood will indicate.

Types of Commands

Positive Command: A positive command is used to encourage someone to take action with your request.

  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Walk the dog before it starts raining.

Negative Command: A negative command used to encourage someone to stop doing an action.

  • Don’t talk with your mouth full of food.
  • Stop arguing with your brother.

Polite Request: These positive commands will include a word or phrase of encouragement such as “please” or “shall/will.”

  • Please, refrain from cell phone use during instructional time.
  • Hold the door, please.
  • Stop the car, will you?

Command Including You: these commands will include the speaker in the requested action.

  • Let’s go to the grocery store before we go home.
  • Let’s listen to what the speaker has to say because it may be important.

Structure of an Imperative Sentence

imperative voiceWith imperative sentences, you will notice that they will typically start with a verb and do not include a subject. This is because these sentences have an implied subject of you.

While the sentence may include “you” at the beginning, it isn’t necessary.

Imperative You Examples:

Here are some examples of what the imperative sentence looks like with/without you added as the subject.

  • Pay your bills on time. > You need to pay your bills on time.
  • Stop arguing with your brother. > You, stop arguing with your brother.

Notice, because we are asking someone to do something when we use the imperative mood, our verbs are written in the present tense.

  • Run to the end of the block and back five times.
  • Read your novel everyday for 20 minutes.

Summary: What Does Imperative Mood Mean?

Define imperative mood: The imperative mood is a form that expresses a command or request.

Final examples:

  • Enjoy your summer vacation in the Bahamas.
  • Let’s talk when you get back home.