Imperative Mood

Imperative Mood :

Mood in English Grammar

A Mood denotes the mode or manner in which a statement is made by the Verb.

Kinds of Moods in English Grammar

There are four Moods - three Finite and one Infinitive.

(a) Three Finite Moods

1. Indicative Mood
2. Imperative Mood
3. SubjunctiveMood

(b) The Infinitive Mood

The Indicative Mood is used….

(I) To make a statement of fact…

1. He works hard.
2. He does not work hard.
3. The sun rises in the east.
4. He died poor.

(II) To ask a question….

1. Does he work hard?
2. Does he not work hard?
3. Have you finished your letter?
4. Are you tired?

(III) To express a supposition which is assumed as a fact….

1. If it rains (assuming as a fact that it does rain), we shall not play tennis.

2. If he is a thief (assuming as a fact that he is a thief), he will be punished.

3. If she likes this pen (assuming as a fact that she likes this pen) I shall give it to her.

So we see that in the Indicative Mood we assert some action as a fact or announce it as a condition or ask some question about it.

Imperative Mood

The chief uses of the Imperative Mood are to express (a) command (b) precept (c) entreaty.

(a) Command

1. Leave the room (Command).
2. Halt or I fire.
3. Awake, arise or be for ever fallen. (Milton)

(b) Precept or Exhortation

1. Forgive and forget.

2. Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise. (Old Testament)

3. This is the best course. Follow it. (Advice)

(c) Entreaty or Prayer

1. Help me if you can. (Entreaty)
2. Give us this day our daily bread.
3. Have mercy upon us.

In these three examples the Subject YOU though not mentioned, but is implied.

Imperative Mood and DO

When the Verb is negative, that is, prohibitive, the Imperative is now formed by the Auxiliary DO.

Older Form….Present Form

1. Fear not…..Do not fear.
2. Taste not that food…..Do not taste that food.

Sometimes even when the Verb is affirmative, the Imperative is formed by DO in order to give more emphasis to an entreaty. This, however, occurs only in colloquial English.

1. Do stop making that noise.
2. Do help me to lift this box.
3. Do be careful!

Imperative Mood and Supposition

The Imperative Mood is sometimes used to express a Supposition.

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

1. Spare the rod and spoil the child.

Subjunctive Mood

The Subjunctive Mood is so called because the clause containing the Verb in this mood is generally sub-joined to some other clause and seldom stands alone.

The Uses of The Subjunctive Mood

The Indicative Mood expresses a fact and sometimes a condition.

The Imperative expresses an order.

The Subjunctive expresses a purpose, a wish or a condition.

The auxiliaries map, might; should and would are used to form Subjunctive equivalents.

(1) A Purpose

In this case the Verb in the Subjunctive Mood is preceded by the Conjunction that or lest (lest=that not). The Auxiliary Verbs MAY and MIGHT are used after THAT and SHOULD after LEST.

1. I give you a prize that you may work hard again.
2. I shall keep your book lest you should lose it.
3. I shall keep your book you may not lose it.
4. I gave you a prize that you might work hard again.
5. I kept your book that lest you should lose it.
6. I kept your book that you might not lose it.

LEST is confined to rather formal English. In ordinary spoken English IN CASE is the more usual expression.

(2) A Wish or Order

1. Thy kingdom come.
2. May Thy kingdom come.
3. I wish that he were as clever as his sister.
4. God! save the Queen. Long live the Queen.
5. God be with you.
6. The sentence is that the prisoner be hanged.

(3) Condition and its Consequence

A Present or Future condition can be expressed in four different ways - all equivalent. The Verb in the consequence has shall or should in the First Person and will or would in the Second and Third.

First Sentence : Condition Second Sentence : Consequence

1. If I meet him, I shall know him at once.
2. If I met him, I should know him at once.
3. If I should meet him, I should know him at once.
4. If I were to meet him, I should know him at once.
5. If he had met me, he would have known me.
6. If I had been in his place, I should have paid the money.

The IF, when followed by an Auxiliary, can be left out. In this case the SHOULD, HAD or WERE must be placed before its Subject.

1. Should he meet me, he would know me at once.
2. Were I in his place, I should pay the money.
3. Had he met me, he would have known me.
4. Had I been in his place, I should have paid the money.

Sometimes the Conditional sentence is left out or understood and only the Consequent sentence is expressed.

1. He would never agree to that (if you asked him - understood).

2. They would never come to this function (if you invited them – understood)

Number and Person

The Number and Person of a Finite Verb depend upon the nature of its Subject.


If the Subject is Singular, the Verb must be Singular.

1. Rain is falling.
2. He comes to college.
3. It is walking along the road.

If the Subject is Plural, the Verb must be Plural.

1. Raindrops are falling.
2. They are making noises.
3. We are the ones who raise the questions.

If the Subject is in the First Person, the Verb must be in the First Person.

1. I love.
2. We come.
3. I ask.
4. We quarrel.

If the Subject is in the Second Person, the Verb must be in the Second Person.

1. You love.
2. You come.
3. You question.
4. You write.

If the Subject is in the Third Person, the Verb must be in the Third Person.

1. He loves.
2. They come.
3. It sleeps.
4. She dances.

The Infinitive Mood

It consists of the verb plus TO. But the word TO will come before the base verb.

To go
To eat
To walk
To sleep
To write

To walk to must these days.
To eat is to keep our body healthy.
To write essays is good for the students.


  1. Mood in English Grammar
  2. Moods in English
  3. Kinds of Moods in English Grammar
  4. Three Finite Moods
  5. Indicative Mood
  6. Imperative Mood
  7. Imperative Mood and DO
  8. Imperative Mood and Supposition
  9. Subjunctive Mood
  10. The Uses of The Subjunctive Mood
  11. The Infinitive
  12. The Infinitive Mood
  13. The Forms of The Infinitive Mood
  14. Future Form of The Infinitive Mood

Imperative Mood :

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