Commands in English
When we want to tell someone to do something in English, we use a
. This can also be called the imperative form
or the imperative mood
Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses
Giving commands in English is quite simple! We can use this form to
give instructions, orders, commands, or requests. Let's take a look.
Giving a command to someone else
In English, whether you are giving a command to a single person or to a
group of people, the form is the same. We just use the infinitive
of the verb
without "to" and use no subject
Here is how it works. Below is an example of a regular indicative
with the subject
and the verb
Example in indicative:
Now, if we want to tell Ned to get on the plane, we use
the command form with no subject and the verb in infinitive. This means
that the verb will be the first word of the sentence.
Notice that there is no subject before the verb and we removed the
from the verb.
If we want Ned to be sure we are talking to him, we can use his name at
the beginning or end of the sentence, but it will always be separated
by a comma
This means it is not
the subject of the sentence. We are just getting Ned's attention.
- Ned, get on the plane.
- Get on the plane, Ned.
If we want to be polite, we can also use the word "please."
- Ned, please get on the plane.
- Please get on the plane, Ned.
some more commands. Notice that the verb is always
in the infinitive form. It does not matter if we are talking to one
person or to a group of people:
- Clean your room, boys.
- Angela, answer the phone, please.
- Help me carry these boxes up the stairs.
- Walk down the street for two blocks, then turn right.
- Get out of bed, Paul!
When we want to tell someone not to do something, we simply add "do not
or the shorter form "don't
before the verb. This shorter form is much more common.
- Don't smoke.
It is very bad for your health.
are some more examples. Just like we saw above, these negative commands
will be the same if we are talking to just one person or to a group of
- Don't forget to call me after work.
- Don't take the
highway. There is too much traffic.
not park your
car on the grass, please.
- Don't use too
many plastic bags. They are bad for the environment.
- Kids, don't fight!
Commands with "let's"
When we want to make a suggestion to a group of people and we are
included in that group, we use the word "let's
and then the verb in infinitive.
is like giving a command to a group of people and to ourselves at the
same time. We often use it when we are making a suggestion for
ourselves and one other person.
- It is a beautiful day. Let's go to the park for a picnic.
- Let's take a
moment to think about this before we give them an answer.
- Let's finish this project before lunch.
- Let's go to the supermarket this afternoon.
- Let's get married!
Negative commands with "let's"
When we want to say that we should not do something, we can use "let's
" and the word "not
" and then the verb in infinitive.
- Let's not have chicken for dinner again tonight.
- Let's not watch television tonight.
- Let's not worry about that until it becomes a real problem.
- Let's not ask ask Angela about her thesis.
- Let's not play tennis together again!
giving instructions, commands, suggestions, and directions in English
is really very easy! Be sure to carefully review these rules and write
your own examples to practice.