Second, 4 Useful Ways to Shape Command and Prohibition Politely

4 Useful Ways to Shape Command and Prohibition Politely

The last post said that the ideal one is student who learning English as foreign language should use polite command and prohibition. But, if  we emphasize on learning language into habit, agree or disagree, we have to let command and prohibition are practised by the students not in a polite formulation. Instead of they don’t take action because they are not able to give command or prohibition politely, they’d better ‘shout’. To formulate command and prohibition politely needs knowledge. If command and prohibition have been fluent  in classroom interaction, it will be a right time to shape them more polite. Be optimistic is a must. That’s why, on this moment you read and learn 4 Useful Ways to Shape Command and Prohibition Politely.

First, Use Please.

As we know command and prohibition are types of sentences expressed to order or forbide someone for doing or not doing something. If they are not shaped to soften, command and prohibition sentences are usually expressed strictly. An easy way to formulate command and prohibition is to use the word ‘please’. You can use ‘please‘ before the imperative forms or after imperative forms. Here are the examples :

Imperative FormUse Please Before Imperative FormUse Please After Imperative Form
COMMAND
Take notesPlease take notesTake notes, please
Write thisPlease write thisWrite this, please
Sit downPlease sit downSit down, please
PROHIBITION
Don’t take notesPlease don’t take notesDon’t take notes, please
Don’t write thisPlease don’t write thisDon’t write this, please
Don’t sit downPlease don’t sit downDon’t sit down, please

Second, Use Modals or Specific Expressions.

We can use modal verbs, such as would, would you like to, would you mind, can, could and should. We can also use several specific expressions include You had better (‘d better)…, You are supposed to… or I want you to to change a strict command into a polite request. We want you to remember that if you use Would you mind, please make sure to add ending -ing after a verb that takes as the imperative form. For example : Would you mind going to market now? It is different with Would you like to go to market now? Here, the verb go cannot be used with ending -ing. Study the following table

Imperative FormCan you…Could youYou should
COMMAND
Close the windowCan you close the window?Could you close the window?You should close the window.
Eat nowCan you eat now?Could you eat now?You should eat now.
Open the windowCan you open the window?Could you open the window?You should open the window.
Would you…Would you like to…Would you mind…
Open the doorWould you open the door?Would you like to open the door?Would you mind opening the door?
Drink nowWould you drink now?Would you like to drink now?Would you mind drinking now?
Close the doorWould you close the doorWould you like to close the door?Would you mind closing the door?
I want you to…You are supposed to…You’d better…
Clean the boardI want you to clean the board.You are supposed to clean the board.You’d better clean the board.
Take the bookI want you to take the book.You are supposed to take the book.You’d better take the book.
Read the bookI want you to read the book.You are supposed to read the book.You’d better read the book.

To give prohibition politely is easy too. Just  think a verb without ‘to’ then speak or write it but you have to combine with some modals in negative forms and some specific expressions above in the negative forms too. For examples : can’t, mustn’t, may not, not allowed, not permitted, not supposed to or I want you not to. Please study the following table.

Imperative FormYou cannot…You must notYou may not
PROHIBITION
Don’t close the windowYou cannot close the window.You must not close the window.You may not close the window.
Don’t eat nowYou cannot eat now.You must not eat now.You may not eat now.
Don’t open the windowYou cannot open the window.You must not open the window.You may not open the window.
You are not allowed to…You are not supposed to…You are not permitted to…
Don’t open the doorYou are not allowed to open the door.You are not suppose to open the door.You are not permitted to open the door.
Don’t drink nowYou are not allowed to drink now.You are not supposed to drink now.You are not permitted to drink now.
Don’t close the doorYou are not allowed to close the doorYou are not supposed to close the door.You are not permitted to close the door.
You’d better not…I want you not to…
Don’t clean the boardYou’d better not clean the board.I want you not to clean the board.
Don’t take the bookYou’d better not take the book.I want you not to take the book.
Don’t read the book.You’d better not read the book.I want you not to read the book.

Third, Use Second If Conditional Sentence.

Other way to soften a command or prohibition in English is to use Second If Conditional sentences that modified. The conditional sentence is a sentence consisting of If Clause as a hypothetical situation and main clause as its result. For example : If you closed the window (If Clause), I would appreciate (Main Clause). Instead of using verb in the Main Clause, you can also use a number of adjectives for deserving praise, respect and admiration too. For example : If you ate this, you would be satisfied. Here are the following adjectives :   great, enormous, true, admirable, happy, impressive, awesome, surprising, amazing, fancy, honourable, magnificient, majestic, marvelous, noble, OK, spectacular, splendid, stunning, worthy, etc. We were thinking you should study the following pattern for command and prohibition on the table.

Second If Conditional
COMMAND
ModelModel AModel B
PatternIF + YOU + VERB (Past)…,IF + YOU + VERB (Past)…,
SUBJECT + WOULD + BE + ADJECTIVE.SUBJECT + WOULD + VERB (Present).
Examples
Close the windowIf you closed the window, It would be OK.If you closed the window, I would appreciate.
Eat thisIf you ate this, you would be satisfied.If you ate this, I would give you a present.
Clean the boardIf you cleaned the board, class would be happy.If you cleaned the board, I would continue it.
PatternIF + YOU + WERE + ADJECTIVE…,IF + YOU + WERE + ADJECTIVE…,
SUBJECT + WOULD + BE + ADJECTIVE.SUBJECT + WOULD + VERB (Present).
Examples
Be niceIf you were nice, everything would be OK.If you were nice, I would work.
Be politeIf you were polite, it would be honourable.If you were polite, I would appreciate.
PROHIBITION
ModelModel AModel B
PatternIF + YOU + DID + NOT + VERB…,IF + YOU + DID + NOT + VERB…,
SUBJECT + WOULD + BE + ADJECTIVE.SUBJECT + WOULD + VERB (Present).
Examples
Don’t close the windowIf you did not close the window, It would be OK.If you did not close the window, I would appreciate.
Don’t eat too muchIf you did not eat too much, It would be great.If you did not eat too much, your brother would eat.
Don’t take the bookIf you did not take the book, It would be great.If you did not take the book, your brother would study.
PatternIF + YOU + WERE + NOT + ADJECTIVE…,IF + YOU + WERE + NOT + ADJECTIVE…,
SUBJECT + WOULD + BE + ADJECTIVE.SUBJECT + WOULD + VERB (Present).
Examples
Don’t be noisyIf you were not noisy, everything would be OK.If you were not noisy, I would call him well.
Don’t be quickIf you were not quick, it would be impressive.If you were not quick, he would finish it.

Fourth, Use Past Progressive Tense.

In everyday English we can only use the past progressive to tell ongoing activity in the past but also to formulate a polite command and prohibition. Please make sure to remember Past Progressive pattern. Let’s study the following patterns and examples below:

Past Progressive Tense
COMMAND
PatternSUBJECT + WAS/ WERE + VERB + -ing…,
SUBJECT + COULD/ SHOULD + VERB…
Examples
Close the windowI was hoping you could close the window.
Eat thisI was agreeing you should eat this.
Clean the boardI was thinking you should clean the board.
PatternSUBJECT + WAS/ WERE + VERB + -ing…,
SUBJECT + COULD/ SHOULD + BE + ADJECTIVE …
Examples
Be niceI was thinking you could be nice.
Be politeI was hoping you should be nice.
PROHIBITION
PatternSUBJECT + WAS/ WERE + VERB + -ing
SUBJECT + COULD/ SHOULD + NOT + VERB…
Examples
Don’t close the windowI was hoping you could not close the window.
Don’t eat too muchI was thinking you should not eat too much.
Don’t take the bookI was agreeing you should not take the book.
PatternSUBJECT + WAS/ WERE + VERB + -ing
SUBJECT + COULD/ SHOULD + NOT + BE + ADJECTIVE …
Examples
Don’t be noisyI was agreeing you should not be noisy.
Don’t be quickI was thinking you should not be quick.

Hope you feel better to read this post and we are sure you have a great will to practise. Always remember Good practice makes perfect. The next post, we will  write how to show compliment and regret. Always get in touch

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