You’re in the right place if you’re looking for an imperative verb definition. A verb is a ‘doing word,’ and an imperative verb tells someone to do something.

An imperative verb exists in a grammatical phrase without a subject noun or pronoun.

Using an imperative verb will turn a sentence into an order or command. For this reason, imperative verbs are sometimes called command verbs.

They are often found at the start of sentences and are commonly referred to as ‘bossy verbs’ due to their appearance in commands. Therefore, this term is an especially memorable way to teach primary students about this kind of verb.

Why do we use command verbs?

Imperative verbs are a direct way of requesting something from the person we are talking to. They are handy for relaying complex information in a short space of time. Our core point is immediately evident as the action typically comes at the top of the sentence.

These words are prevalent in instructions, guides, directions, and teaching because of this

Examples of imperative verbs

As imperative verbs appear in commands, these are usually concise and snappy sentences that are acted upon immediately. Again, this is because when we read instructions, we want them to be simple and straight to the point.

You might find imperative verbs in recipes, instruction manuals, and SATNAV systems.

Here are some standard command verb examples that children may encounter at school and home:


  • Tidy your room!”
  • Bake at 200 degrees.”
  • Wash the dishes.”


  • Throw the ball to another person.”
  • Stop what you are doing.”
  • Colour within the lines!”

These command verb examples demonstrate how command verbs often appear within a sentence. They are used at the start of an instruction to clarify what is being asked of the person being spoken to. Whether it’s written down in an instruction manual or told directly in person, these verbs are a quick and helpful way to convey information.

A handy command verbs list:

Sometimes, the best way to learn about imperative verbs is through examples. Here are some handy command verbs that have been chosen because of the varied situations they represent:

  • Try again
  • Play nicely
  • Don’t worry
  • Turn left
  • Ask a friend
  • Look both ways
  • Finish your work
  • Speak up
  • Eat your dinner
  • Say thank you
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