This word has several meanings. We'll focus on two:
First, something imperative expresses a command or an order.
Second, when something is imperative, that means you absolutely have to do it, and often right away.
em PAIR it iv
Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like “large” or “late.”
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in “an imperative task.”
2. After a linking verb, as in "The task was imperative.”)
"Imperative" is also a noun, meaning the command OR the action or other thing you absolutely must do.
How to use it:
If you check out the two definitions again ("commanding" & "demanding action,") you notice that they're pretty similar! The first one just usually describes people and the things they say, while the second describes things that we have to do.
For that first meaning of "commanding," you can have an imperative person who speaks imperatively and has an imperative tone of voice.
And for that second meaning of "demanding action," you can have an imperative task, chore, or errand; imperative work; an imperative plan, action, or course of action, and so on.
Often we'll use a sentence with a delayed subject, like these: "It's imperative that something happens," "it will be imperative to do something," "it was imperative for them to do something," etc.
To use the noun, say that some task is an imperative or that we have an imperative to do something. You can be more specific and talk about a moral imperative, a social imperative, an economic imperative, and so on, and you can use the plural to talk about imperatives that we must address, the imperatives of our generation, our most crucial moral imperatives, etc.
Life as a middle school student was full of odd, unspoken social rules. It was imperative, for example, to carry your gym clothes in the exact same type of drawstring bag that the other girls did.
Would you agree that saving endangered species, while important, is not exactly our top moral imperative?
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "imperative" means when you can explain it without saying "can't avoid or postpone" or "peremptory."
Think of how you'd explain to someone how to do a certain task at your job or within your hobby, and fill in the blanks: "When you _____, it's imperative that _____."
Example: "When you use the miter saw, it's imperative that you wear protective eye goggles because there could be dust and shards flying everywhere."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're sampling questions from Orijinz, an awesome series of games about the origins of words, phrases, and quotes. Click here if you want to check them out. Try a question here each day this month, and see the right answer the next day. Have fun!
"Guess the word!
Origin: This word for a sharp, ironic taunt or remark comes from a Greek word meaning 'to tear flesh'.”
"The word is: Sarcasm.
Tidbit: The Greek word is sarkazein."
Guess the actor and director!
“I hate television. I hate it as much as peanuts. But I can’t stop eating peanuts.”
“I started at the top and worked my way down.”
“I have a grave announcement to make. Incredible as it may seem, both the observations of science and the evidence of our eyes lead us to the inescapable assumption that those strange beings who landed in New Jersey tonight are the vanguard of an invading army from Mars.”
A Point Well Made:
Lucille Ball: "Knowing what you can not do is more important than knowing what you can do. In fact, that's good taste."
1. The opposite of IMPERATIVE is
C. ON POINT
2. The manager dismissed us all with an imperative ______
A. "Have a great weekend!"
B. "Let's do better next time!"
C. "Get this done!"
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.