Making a command in sign language

Impertative sentence is one of four sentence types: declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamative. An imperative sentence gives a command, a demand, or a request. It orders, tells, or asks a listener to do something.

E.g. "Sit down", "Don't forget your homework", "Don't ever touch my phone", "Please open the door."

In ASL, MIND-NOT and PLEASE are a common usage for making a request.

ASL sentence example: DOOR/\ MIND-NOT/\ (you) CL:OPEN-DOOR.

A general sentence structure is as follows: OSV (object-subject-verb). Raise eyebrows for the object at the beginning of the sentence. After signing the object, lower the eyebrows to a normal base for the rest of the sentence.

Formal and informal registers

When making a request or command, there is a continuum of formal and informal tone depending on the contexts.

Give me the key, please. Glossed as /\KEY/\ GIVE-me PLEASE.

You can see two videos of the command, "GIVE-me the KEY." The former video shows a formal register and the latter video shows an informal register.

Exercise

Practice some nouns and verbs to make a command. Open the ASL dictionary in a separate browser to look up any words below.

Nouns: BACKPACK, BOOK, CHAIR, CUP, DOOR, KEY, LIGHTS, PAPER, PEN, PENCIL, TABLE, WINDOW, ...

Verbs: CLOSE, MOVE, OPEN, PUT, THROW, TURN-on, TURN-off.

Combine one of the nouns and one of the verbs from the list above and make a command sentence.

Examples of imperative sentence

Watch the following videos to learn some commands. Make sure you check out the last video (a cute one).

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Related posts

Related posts: Sentences types; Asking a yes-no question.