Re: Translating Imperatives

From: Mike Sangrey (
Date: Sat Aug 21 1999 - 17:14:34 EDT

I was going to ask the question, "Would it be better for me to think of the
imperative tense as an 'urgentive'?" which of course would coin a word, but it
would stress for me that the emphasis of the tense is on the urgency and not
on the commanding nature. Before I asked that question though, I thought I
better look 'imperative' up in the dictionary. means a command or
a statement made with urgency. Duh! I had thought it meant command.

To my ear, "let us..." carries no urgency. If that is common to the English
ear, then wouldn't "let us" either be a bad translation on the one hand or on
the other hand the imperative tense has a broader meaning than urgency. It
seems to me we have one or the other.

The imperatives in the Lord's prayer can be easily handled by posturing the
person praying in an urgent but submissive tone.
  Please let your name be hallowed,
  please let your kingdom come,
  please let your will be done...

Wouldn't third person imperatives be the Greek way of saying "please"?

Mike Sangrey
Lancaster, Pa.
       There is no 'do' in faith, everywhere present within it is 'done'.

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