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ESL Easy Quiz

Try These! - Imperatives

Quiz playing is a wonderful way to increase your knowledge of English as a Second Language. Remember that all of our ESL quizzes have titles that are both friendly and technical at the same time… In the case of this quiz you might like to tell your friends about “Try These!” but no doubt your teachers will talk about the “Imperatives quiz”! If you hear a technical term and you want to find a quiz about the subject then just look through the list of quiz titles until you find what you need.

We can use language not only to ask and tell people about things, but it’s sometimes 'imperative' to tell them to do things, like 'Wait and see!'

Giving orders or instructions is very easy in English. Usually you just start from the normal form of the verb that you want them to do, and go on from there if necessary. Try these imperatives!

  1. Pick the right word or words to complete the instruction.
    Let's ... ... to the seaside tomorrow!
    The simplest answer is best here; any of the other suggestions would be understood, but none of them is quite what we would say.
    If you want to include yourself in a group, to do the thing that you're suggesting, you simply put 'Let's ...' on the front of the sentence. When you are ready to start out, you can say 'Let's go!' (= iVamonos! in Spanish; 'Allons-y' in French)
  2. If a doctor needs to look down your throat (to check your tonsils, for instance, or to see if the inside of your throat is sore and redder than it should be), he or she may say: ...
    The doctor won't be able to see down your throat if your mouth is shut; and the wider open it is, the easier it will be for him (or her) to look.
  3. Sometimes we need to tell someone NOT to do something. Our instruction needs to be clear and quick, but not rude. Which of these is best?
    The best way to do this is to say:
    (Please) do not + VERB*
    (* or verb-phrase; the action that you don't want people to do.)
    We will give you another question like this later in the Quiz.
  4. One situation where instructions are important, and common, is on the roads. People may be moving quickly so the signs must be clear and simple. Which of these is the best and clearest?
    Most of the words here are short, simple ones that could be used either as a noun or as a verb. For an instruction, the first word in each phrase must clearly be a verb.
    'Slow' is usually an adjective ('a slow train') but there is a phrase 'Slow down', a bit like 'sit down', which means to take things a bit more gently.
    The correct answer has extra strength because each half of it starts with the same letter, S.
  5. Another place where we need instructions is in the kitchen: a recipe will tell you, in a simple order, what you need to do next to prepare some food. What actions do you need to put in, and in what sequence, to make this simple omelette?
    '... ... the eggs, .... ... them, ... ... salt and pepper, then ... ... them in a pan.'
    You need to start by breaking the eggs first, so none of Answers 1 - 3 would work!
  6. If someone is making a lot of noise while you are at a concert or in a theatre, what should you say to them?
    It helps if you start by saying 'please'!
    In English we don't just 'hear' music, we 'listen to' it (certainly if we have paid money to enjoy that experience). We can't just 'listen something', 'we have to listen TO it'.
    (You may have heard a famous old pop-song called 'Downtown', where the chorus begins: 'Listen to the music of the traffic in the city ... ' ~ but if you have been learning English with real people, perhaps in a class rather than from a book or online, we are sure you will have heard a teacher say 'Listen to me' ~ or perhaps 'Please listen carefully to me' ~ on many occasions!)
  7. If you need to ask someone to do something, and perhaps you may need to touch them (and you might prefer to get their permission before you do that), what do you say? Here is another such phrase from a famous classic pop-song, 'Streets of London':
    Answer 1 would only be right if you were also asking the other person to take their own hand ('Let's do this together'), which doesn't make very good sense in this situation.
    Answer 2 is the correct words to the song (which you might like to look up online, if you don't already know it)
    Answer 3 is another way of doing it, but if you ask the 'Why? question, you may get an answer such as 'Because I don't want you to touch me' or 'In my country we could be arrested for walking hand-in-hand along a public road'!
    Answer 4 is possible, but rather a formal way to make this friendly suggestion; and there are too many words to fit with the rhythm of the song.
  8. Here's a nice simple question: you are having a meal with a large group of people at a big table. You need more salt on your food. Of course, you could just point your finger at the salt, and smile hopefully; but in many places people think it's rude to point your finger at all, even for a simple thing like this. What do you say to the person next to you?
    'Pass' is the right verb, not 'give' (though that would be better than nothing; but then, you're not going to keep all of the salt forever, are you?). 'Send' is quite a good guess, but still not the right word.
    Note that we say 'the salt', even though we only want a small part of it. We do not ask for 'some salt' unless, perhaps, we want someone sitting closer to it to just put a little on the side of our plate for us, without touching the salt-pot ourselves.
  9. You may be staying with English people, to practise speaking with them whenever you have the chance. Perhaps one day they don't feel very cheerful, and they don't start up a conversation with you.
    This might not be fully polite, but they might be quite surprised (and say something back to you!) if you said to them: ...
    'Please ...!' is the best start, and the rest of Answer 2 will remind you how to give both negative and positive commands.
  10. Perhaps you've 'had enough' of all these instructions, and you'd prefer to be on your own to think. What would you say?
    Answer 2 is clear and polite. You can also use this if someone approaches you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Author: Ian Miles

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