Don’t you + VERB !

In general, imperatives are verb forms used to give commands, instructions, or make requests. When “you” is used with the negative imperative verb form, it emphasizes and strengthens the instruction or command. This can be seen in sentences like “Don’t you dare leave!” or “Don’t you touch my car!” The use of “you” adds a direct and personal tone, enhancing the assertiveness of the statement.

In the English Grammar Profile, C2 point 135 in the category of CLAUSES/imperatives is defined as:

“you” with an imperative form to make an instruction stronger.

All the examples in the EGP, have the following pattern:

Don’t + you + (adverb) verb + !

This overlaps with:

Point 31 NEGATION/ imperative for instructions warnings reprimands.

Here is an example you can listen with and without an adverb:

Don’t you dare tell me what to do! 

Don’t you ever dare tell me what to do!


iWeb doesn’t allow for a search for

. Do n't you

COCA does, but we must manually search for exclamations:

34 2011 FIC Bk:SilverGirlNovel

“Freddy, wait! Don’t leave. Don’t you dare leave!”

58 2016 MOV The Perfect Daughter

Don’t you say that! That’s not true! Guess what, Daddy.


74 2003 FIC Bk:OurLadyForest

Don’t you touch my car!

114 2016 TV The Fosters and you ruined mine.

Ana, honey, you need to calm down. Don’t you tell me to calm down! You took my babies.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *