Imperative Constructions in Standard Arabic

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This paper presents a generative account of the clause structure of the positive and negative imperative constructions in Standard Arabic (SA). It begins with a discussion of the morphological structure of the imperative verb in two positive and one negative imperative constructions. It utilizes the structure of the imperative verb as well as the morphosyntactic properties of the imperative construction to argue that the imperative verb lacks [Tense] but encodes a [Mood] feature. Therefore, it is proposed that the imperative constructions consist of a MoodP (Mood Phrase) projection above the v*P (light verb Phrase) projection. The negative imperative construction will have a NegP (Negative Phrase) projection above the MoodP. It will be argued that the subject occupies the Spec, v*P position (in line with Chomsky 1995), the verb moves to Mood, and the negative particle is merged in the head of the NegP, preceding the verb and the subject; the object is merged in the complement to V position. Assuming Al-Balushi (2011), Case is licensed by a Verbal Case feature [VC] on the Case licensing heads, Mood and v*. The study shows that, like declarative and interrogative constructions (sentences and questions), imperative constructions (commands) in SA make finite clauses, CP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-216
Number of pages31
JournalAlkhalil: Journal of University of Nizwa for Literary, Linguistic, and Qur’anic Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • imperative verbs; imperative constructions; tense; mood; verbal Case


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