No matter where you live in the world I bet when you were growing up your mother used a form of the imperative tense with you. The imperative tense in English is used: 1) as a direct order, 2) to give instructions, 3) to make an invitation, 4) on signs, and 5) to give friendly informal advice. Here are some examples of these five uses: 1) Clean up your room., 2) Go to the door, close it, and lock it., 3) Come in, sit down, relax., 4) Push., and 5) Don’t go. Stay at home and rest. All of these examples (except #4) are examples of the imperative that a mother might use. Mothers, and parents in general are known for using the imperative with their children, but moms in the United States are also known for saying many other common phrases. These phrases are so common that when most people in the United States hear them they will likely think of their own mother or a mother that they know. Below I have listed some very common phrases or “things that moms say” in the United States. One thing you will notice about a lot of these phrases is that they are in the imperative tense (or they are a question). Do these sound like things your mother would say? Are there common phrases that mothers in your culture use, if so please share a translation of the phrase (in English) with us in the comments of this post.
Call me when you get there, just so I know you’re okay.
Are your hands broken? You can pick it up yourself.
What were you born in, a barn? Close the door.
No ifs, ands, or buts.
Eat your vegetables; they’re good for you.
Enough is enough!
Go ask your father.
How many times do I have to tell you?
I don’t care who started it. YOU stop it!
If I’ve told you once … I’ve told you a thousand times.
If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
I’m doing this for your own good.
I’m going to give you until the count of three: 1…2…2½…2¾…
Money does NOT grow on trees, you know.
This hurts me more than it hurts you.
If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too?
What do you think YOU’RE doing?
You would forget your own head if it wasn’t attached to your shoulders.
You’re older, you should know better.
Another thing that mothers often tell their children to do is to study. If you are looking for more tools to help you study English be sure to check out all that is available to you at www.transparentlanguage.com.