In English there are 4 types of sentences as it's taught in schools: 1. Declarative. 2. Interrogative. 3.Exclamatory. 4. Imperative.

Now, as far as I can see, all the first three types of sentences (i.e. declarative, interrogative, exclamatory) can be without verbs, AKA "nominal sentence". But If I try to find nominal sentence for the 4th type of sentences (imperative), I cannot think how it can be to give an order without verb, or in other words, I'm not sure if it can be "imperative sentence" as a nominal sentence rather than a verbal sentence". What's correct in fact?

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According to the linked image in your question, the following are nominal sentences:

  • I am curious.
  • You are nice.
  • She is polite.
  • He is our teacher.
  • We are students.

Every one of these sentences has a verb.  In fact, they all have the same verb, the copular "to be".  If we're defining "nominal sentence" as a sentence without a main verb, then none of those examples are nominal.  True, this verb lacks action and lacks transitivity, but it does mark tense, form a predicate and demand a subject.  The so-called nominal sentence examples from your linked image are all verbal sentences.

English does have a few examples of natural nominal sentences:  "Thanks."  "Drat."  "Sorry."  "The more, the merrier."  Conversational English and newspaper headlines are rife with contextual ellipsis, leading to a type of technically nominal sentence for which the verb needs to be reconstructed before the clause can be understood.

An imperative is a call to action.  Whether explicitly referenced, elided, or merely implied, there must be an action.  Certainly, you can make a call to action without a verb.  You can make a call to action without a single word at all.  A gesture or a glance can make a demand.

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  • Assuming that "to be" (am, are, is) is not verb. Can we have an imperative sentence with "to be" only? – Judicious Allure Mar 7 '18 at 13:36
  • Who would be there to hear the command Be! ? If there's a being who is given that command, the command is moot, unless it means "Continue to be!" If there's no being to hear it, the command is moot. But we can say Be serious! – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 7 '18 at 18:33
  • Part of my point, @Incompatible_alterations, is that you must assume that "to be" is a verb. It is one, regardless of your assumptions. That being said, the copula can form imperatives. As others have mentioned, "be good", "be quiet" and "be serious" are valid examples, as are "be not afraid", "be all that you can be" and "don't be a menace to South Central while drinking your juice in the 'hood". Please note that, in all these examples, "to be" is not an auxiliary. It's the main verb. In the last example, it even takes an auxiliary "don't". – Gary Botnovcan Mar 8 '18 at 2:24
  • Thank you. I guess that there are two opinions, theories, or attitudes to this issue among the linguists. Please see this discussion and the sources there. ell.stackexchange.com/questions/148100/… – Judicious Allure Mar 8 '18 at 13:53

Yes but only with the context in a previous sentence that is being ellipsised. E.g. a common one for my kids:


It should be noted that your nominal sentences also include verbs if you consider "be" and its variants (is, are) as such. In this case (equivalently) nominal imperatives would be: "be good", "be quiet" etc

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  • Regarding to what you just edited, I had a long discussion about this issue and I was very confused, because I've been taught that "verbal sentences" are not considered verbal sentences if they are without verbs. The auxiliary verbs: am, are and is are not considered "verbs" but they're considered as "auxiliary verbs" (="help verbs") See here: ell.stackexchange.com/a/148205/12430https://… – Judicious Allure Mar 7 '18 at 1:03
  • *am, are, is = copular verb – Judicious Allure Mar 7 '18 at 1:26

What about: "Hands up" "Phones off please" etc., which are typical commands given by teachers but don't actually contain any verb in its imperative form: Put your hands up, Switch your phones off etc.

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