The Imperative

by William Harris
(the text is published with the permission of the author)

This is the last group of minor verbal dependents, along with infinitives, and participles, which we must deal with. Imperare in Latin means "give an order", and Imperatives do just that. They look like this:

                    I          II         II         IV
Singular           ama        mone       duc        audi
Plural             amate      monete     ducite     audite
Thus the imperative singular can be defined as the infinitive, as it were, without its final -re, and this serves as the singular form in Classes I II and IV.

But remember the disappearing vowel in the PPP ductus instead of *ducitus? It is just the same here, the imperative in Class III is a brutal duc "lead on!".

The plurals have an ending -te which might remind you of the normal 2 plural active form -te, but it is different, and reserved for this imperative use. Venite venite ad Bethlehem is of course type IV, from the common and irregular verb venio (not from a *veno as if Class III like duco).

There are passive forms for the imperative, but they are so rare and infrequent in use that I don't think I have to list them here. For practical purposes they don't exist.

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