Commands or Imperative Sentences


Remember that statements are primarily used to convey information such as: “He shut the door.”

And questions are primarily used to ask for information such as: “Did he shut the door?”

Commands or imperatives are sentences primarily used to instruct someone to do (or not to do) something. Examples:

  1. Shut the door.
  2. Do not shut the door.

We can recognize three main types of commands. Each falls in a different way from the corresponding statements. These are:

(a) Commands without a subject
(b) Commands with a subject
(c) Commands with “Let”

Commands without a subject: These are the commonest type of commands in that they are spoken without a subject. Examples:

  1. Listen to me.
  2. Be careful.
  3. Get out.

Commands with subject: The distinguishing feature is that it is less common and it is used when you are angry with someone. Examples:

  1. Wale, shut the door.
  2. Iyabo, get out.
  3. Everybody, sit down.
  4. Femi, listen to me.

Commands with “let”: The commands in this category can usually be formed from positive active statements like:

(a) We must go home now. (declarative statement)
(b) Let us go home now. (Imperative)

Another term for “command with let” is “command with respect”. You only use “let” to introduce a command.

Negative commands are formed by adding negator “don’t”. Examples:

  1. Don’t you shut the door.
  2. Don’t anyone shut the door.
  3. Don’t you dare shut the door.


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