English Grammar

Imperatives and Vocatives

by Eugene R. Moutoux

The imperative mood is used to express a command, a request, or a suggestion. The subject of an imperative sentence is usually an unexpressed you. Here are some sentences with verbs in the imperative mood (the imperatives are underlined): Answer! Be still! Do come to the party on Saturday! Tell that to the teacher. Use time judiciously. You go first! An exclamation point is used at the end of some imperative sentences to convey a sense of urgency or powerful emotion.

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A vocative is a noun (whether a name or not) or the pronoun you used in direct address. Vocatives are independent expressions, which means that they are not connected grammatically to the rest of the sentence. Here are some sentences with vocatives (the vocatives are underlined): Mr. Abramson, come to Room 214 immediately. What would you do, children, if the lights went out? You, I need your help.

- from the teacher's enlarged edition of my book Diagramming Step by Step: One Hundred and Fifty-one Steps to Diagramming Excellence

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