Imperative sentences are used to issue a command or instruction, make a request, or offer advice. Basically, they tell people what to do.
Imperative sentences usually end with a period but can occasionally end with an exclamation point. These sentences are sometimes referred to as directives because they provide direction to whomever is being addressed.
Below, you'll find some examples of imperative sentences. Note that each line is issuing a command of some sort.
The first indication of an imperative sentence is its punctuation. Most of these sentences end with a period, and sometimes an exclamation point. Just be careful, as imperative sentences aren't the only sentences that end with a period or exclamation point (as you’ll see below). The punctuation is simply your first indication that you may be looking at an imperative sentence.
Next, take a look at the verb in these sentences. Typically, imperative sentences begin with verbs that issue a command. Another clue is the subject. Do you see one? Generally, the subject of an imperative sentence is implied, not stated, as it is giving a direct order.
No matter what, the main function of an imperative sentence is to provide instruction, make a request or demand, or offer an invitation or advice. Let's take another look:
Imperative sentences are one of four main types of sentences. They are:
Let's take a closer look at each type of sentence.
Imperative and declarative sentences are sometimes confused because each of them can end with a period.
Here's the main point of difference. Declarative sentences don't issue commands, provide instructions, or offer invitations; they simply make a statement or offer an opinion. Basically, they make a declaration.
An exclamatory sentence expresses heightened emotion such as excitement, surprise, anger, or joy. It always ends with an exclamation point.
As an imperative sentence can also end with an exclamation point, you have to ask yourself if the sentence is issuing a command (imperative) or expressing a feeling (exclamatory). For example:
It's important not to overuse exclamatory sentences in your writing as over-usage will diminish their effect.
An interrogative sentence actually asks a question. These sentences end with a question mark and often begin with such words as who, what, where, when, why, how, or do.
When issuing a command or instruction, know that you're in an imperative state of mind. Anything else would be classified as declarative, interrogative, or exclamatory. As you move forward in your reading and writing, have fun classifying each new sentence you come upon!