Giving instructions in English

April 27, 2012

In English, we usually use imperative sentences to give instructions. Affirmative imperatives have the same form as infinitives without to. Negative imperatives are made with do not + infinitive. Note that the subject of an imperative sentence (you) is not usually mentioned.

Here are some common instructions.

Come here.

Get ready.

Wait there.

Sit down.

Get up.



Go back.

Stop the car.

Shut up.

Get out.

Get lost.

Stop it.

Eat your food.

Wash your hands.

Close your eyes.

Light the lamp.

Switch on the lights.

Switch off the lights.

Put the heating on.

Write with a pen.

Open your mouth.

Wear your coat.

Take your coat off.

Take your shoes off.

Comb your hair.

Fetch me a glass of water.

Bring me a cup of tea.

Bring me that file.

Take this file with you.

Stop talking.

Keep quiet.

Instructions with be

Be punctual.

Be quiet.

Be careful.

Be polite.

Be patient.

Be kind.

Instructions with let

These are used to instruct people to let others do something.

Let them come in.

Let him do his work.

Let him talk.

Let him go.

Let him make another attempt.

Instructions with don’t

Don’t go now.

Don’t talk nonsense.

Don’t do it.

Don’t be silly!

Don’t play with fire.

Don’t smoke.

Don’t pluck the flowers.

Don’t be late.

Don’t work too hard.

Don’t make a noise.

We can make an instruction even more polite by using the structure do + infinitive.

Do sit down.

Do be quiet.

Do be a bit more careful.