Grammar Happy: The Imperative Mood

Grammar Happy, How To Content
May 14, 2018
by Ross McKeever

The Imperative Mood

Keep your copy clean with our latest Grammar Happy post — learn how to identify the imperative mood.

This is the second part of our three-part series on grammatical moods. This first part covered the basics of grammatical moods and explained how to use the indicative mood. If you haven’t already read the first part, you can read it here — it should give you a good indication of what to expect from the rest of the series.

This second part of the series covers the imperative mood — the mood reserved for making commands.

The imperative mood is used to command, to advise and to request. When you imagine your boss speaking, you probably imagine them speaking in this mood. Another common place to come across the imperative mood is on street signs, for example: “do not walk on the grass”.

Typically, sentences in the imperative mood omit the second-person subject they’re addressed to. The example above is addressed to someone, but it doesn’t actually point out who this someone is. Usually, the addressee is identified through the speaker’s tone of voice, or through physical gestures. In this case, the addressee is simply reading the sign.

Exclamation marks are often used alongside the imperative mood. Generally, imperative sentences that end in an exclamation mark are forceful, whereas those end in a period are polite.

This isn’t always the case, however. Sometimes, exclamation marks can lighten the tone of an imperative command, reducing the chance that you’ll be mistaken for a robot, or worse—a dull person.

Tune in next week when we will discuss the subjunctive mood!

So now that the grammar in your press release is correct, how are you going to make sure you get your release to the right audience?

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