Lesson 15 - Commands and Instructions

Granville Island

In this lesson you'll learn the imperative form of verbs. This is the form of the verb that is used when giving instructions, directions, commands, and making requests.

A travel video featuring Vancouver is included to help you improve your English listening skills.

Read a short story about a visit by Ana and Alejandro to Granville Island in Vancouver.

English Vocabulary

Here are some common English words related to cities and towns.

Listen city
Listen town
Listen village
Listen downtown
Listen suburbs
Listen sidewalk
Listen street
Listen crosswalk
Listen bridge
Listen park
Listen house
Listen building
Listen warehouse
Listen train station
Listen subway station
Listen restaurant
Listen supermarket
Listen store
Listen theater, theatre
Listen stadium



Here is a short documentary about Vancouver from Expedia.

Expedia YouTube Channel



The imperative is used to give orders, commands, and make requests. In English it is also used when giving instructions.

In English the imperative form of a verb is the same as the infinitive form. A sentence that begins with a command usually ends with and exclamation mark (!). To make a command a request, start the sentence with Please. Since using the imperative to make a request can seem to forceful or impolite, requests are usually phrases as questions instead. When the imperative form is used to give instructions, the sentence ends in a period (.)

Infinitive Imperative
be be
open open
make make
do do
go go
give give

To create a negative command, start the sentence with Don't, followed by the imperative form of the verb.


Give it to me! (command)
Please give it to me. (request)
Go away! (command)
Don't go away! (command)
Please don't go! (request)
Go straight ahead for two blocks, then turn right on Main street. (instructions)
Hold the flashlight. (command)
Pour in two cups of water. (instructions)
Cook for ten minutes. (instructions)

Giving Directions Example


Go straight ahead for three blocks.
Turn left and keep going until the the traffic light.
Turn right and go for about five blocks.
You'll see a small school.
Walk past the school and turn left.
Keep going for another couple of blocks and you'll see the book store.

Recipe Example

Chocolate chip cookie


3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)


1 Heat oven to 375ºF.
2 Mix sugars, butter, vanilla and egg in large bowl.
3 Stir in flour, baking soda and salt (dough will be stiff).
4 Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.
5 Put dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
6 Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown (centers will be soft).
7 Allow to cool slightly, then remove from cookie sheet.
8 Place on wire rack and let cool.

Reading English

Chapter 2 Granville Island

Ana and Alejandro have been exploring Granville Island, a shopping district that contains a public market, marina, restaurants, theaters and small shops.

As they are walking along the waterfront, Alejandro sees an ice cream shop. “Hey Ana, let’s get some ice cream,” he says.

“That’s a good idea,” she agrees.

They walk into the shop and look at the different types of ice cream on display.

“What kind of ice cream cone are you going to get?” Ana asks her brother.

“I think I’ll get a chocolate cone. How about you?”

“They all look good, but I’m going to get the caramel swirl.”

“Hello,” the lady behind the counter says. Have you decided what you would like?”

“I’ll have a caramel swirl ice cream cone,” Ana says.

“And I’ll have a chocolate one,” Alejandro adds.

The lady prepares the ice cream cones and hands them to Ana and Alejandro. “That’ll be six dollars,” she says.

They pay the lady then walk back outside. There are a few small tables in front of the store, but they decide to keep walking. Soon they come to a large open area with several large benches.

“Let’s sit here,” Ana says.

They sit down on one of the benches and watch all the people walking by. In front of them is a small inlet glistening in the sun on the other side of which is Downtown Vancouver. Several people are kayaking on the water. A small pedestrian ferry is slowly approaching.

They sit quietly in the warm sun for a while eating their ice cream cones. When Alejandro finishes his cone, he says “This is so relaxing. I could sit here all day.”

“It’s a beautiful view of the city from here. I wish I was in one of those sailboats though, slowly sailing away.”

“That would be nice!”

“Let’s go the market and get some vegetables for tonight’s dinner,” Ana says after a few minutes.

They get up and walk into the market. They wander around for a while in the crowded market looking at all the things for sale. Eventually they find a produce vendor.

“What do we need to get?” Alejandro asks.

“We need some carrots, red peppers, onions, strawberries, and blueberries.

They collect the items and bring them up to the cashier.

“Hello,” says the man at the cash register. “Did you find everything you need?”

“Yes. I think we have everything we need,” Ana replies.

“That’ll be $24.45.”

Ana pays the man and Alejandro picks up the bag with the food in it.

“Thank you,” Ana says as the man hands her the change, “Have a nice day.”

“You, too.”

Ana and Alejandro walk out of the market into the bright sunny day and head home.

English Vocabulary

shopping district
ice cream
ice cream cone


Here is an online quiz to help you learn the English vocabulary introduced in this lesson.