One of the Imperative Special Cases here are the Imperatives With Subject, explained as follows;

Normally when we use the imperative there is no subject because the subject is obvious—it's YOU! Sometimes, however, to make the subject clear, we do use a subject, for example:

  • Everybody look!
  • Relax, everybody.
  • Nobody move!
  • John sit down; the rest of you go home.
  • Somebody answer the phone!
  • You keep out of this!

We can also use you as the subject to imply anger, as in:

  • You watch your mouth, young man!

Are those really some special cases or do they just miss certain punctuation, for example;

  • Everybody, look!
  • Nobody should move!
  • John, sit down; the rest of you, go home.
  • Somebody, answer the phone!


  • You! Watch your mouth, young man! OR You, watch your mouth, young man!

1 Answer 1


In English Syntax: An Introduction (2004), Andrew Radford states that

an imperative sentence in English can have an overt subject which is either a second person expression like you, or a third person expression like anyone...

Some of the examples that he gives:

  • You read that book!

  • Youse tell the truth!

  • You protest!

Interestingly, according to the book, in one dialect of Belfast English sometimes the subject can be used after the verb in an imperative, as in

  • Leave you now!
  • Arrive you before 6 o'clock!

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