Be happy! You mustn’t be sad (= don't be sad). (Essential Grammar in Use)

I’m confused whether it’s possible to order other people to have certain emotional accomplishment. Do the two sentences really mean that, or do they just demand the hearer’s outer expression showing pleasure, not showing unhappiness?

  • Be happy is not an order. – kiamlaluno Sep 7 '13 at 11:37

The imperative mood is not only used for commands or requests, but also for exhortations. Be happy is an exhortation, not a command.

Don't worry, be happy.

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    Hmm, interesting! I hadn't heard that term before. I wonder; "Hey, cheer up! Smile!" In this case, smile is a command, yes? I would also think from context that cheer up is a command (perhaps more of a suggested command, but it seems to be so nonetheless). So in a similar context, couldn't "be happy" (or "don't be sad") also be a command? "Hey, don't be sad! Give us a smile!" or something similar? (I'm honestly curious; I haven't come across this concept before.) At any rate, very interesting answer. +1! – WendiKidd Sep 7 '13 at 18:43
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    "Give us a smile!" could be an exhortation or a command; I would see it more like an exhortation, and consider "smile every time you see me" a command. As for "be happy," I would not see it as a command, since nobody can be commanded to be happy. Then, people would take somebody is happy because something done (e.g. keeping to smile), and somebody could just pretend to be happy. – kiamlaluno Sep 7 '13 at 20:42

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