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Imperative Sentences: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Shelley Vessels

Shelley has taught at the middle school level for 10 years and has a master's degree in teaching English.

Your parents probably use imperative sentences often when they talk to you. Can you guess what type of sentence they are? Imperative sentences are commands, and this lesson will show you how they work and what makes them unique.

What Is an Imperative Sentence?

''Take out the garbage, please.''

''Be nice to your brother.''

''Stop your little sister from sticking peas up her nose.''

Do any of these sound familiar to you? If so, then you've heard imperative sentences before, and chances are that you've heard them quite often. Imperative sentences are commands. ''Imperative'' means of great importance, and if you are given a command, you know it's important that you get whatever it is done. For instance, you don't want to not take out the garbage when your mom tells you to, right?

How Do I Know If an Imperative Sentence Is Complete?

In order for your readers to understand what you want to say, you need to make sure that each sentence is complete. Can you remember the two very important parts of a sentence that make it complete? They include the subject (who or what the sentence is about) and the predicate (what the subject is or does in the sentence). If you are missing either of those parts, you've written an incomplete sentence.

In an imperative sentence, it is a little trickier to find the subject of the sentence if you don't know what you're doing. Let's take a look. (Yes, that's an imperative sentence too!)

''Smile for the camera.''

The simple predicate (or verb) of this sentence is ''smile,'' but what is the subject? Who is the reader or writer talking to? YOU are the one who is being spoken to, so an implied ''you'' is the subject. In this case, ''You smile for the camera.''

Can a One-Word Imperative Sentence Be Complete?

Yes, it can! This is one thing that makes imperative sentences unique. Let's show you how. (And that's another imperative sentence!)

''Go.''

What is the simple predicate (or verb) of the sentence? The simple predicate of the sentence is ''go,'' but what is the subject? Like the subject in the sentence above, the subject in this sentence is an implied ''you.''

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