Modal particles can be used in imperatives or interrogatives to modulate (change) the impact of the command or request.
In combination with imperatives, certain particles (toch, maar, eens, even and nou) modulate the impact of the command expressed by the imperative.
Maar, eens and even weaken the impact of the imperative. Maar turns an imperative into a polite request:
|Ga maar zitten.||Do sit down. (encouraging)|
|Ga even zitten.||Sit down for a minute.|
|Ga eens zitten.||Sit down, please. (polite request)|
Note than depending on the tone used when uttering these sentences, their meaning can be different. The last example could sound more urgent with a falling intonation. In English, please could occur at the start, turning the friendly request into a rather irritated command.
However, the modal particles toch and nou strengthen the tone of an imperative. They give the command a sense of urgency.
|Houd je mond toch!||Do shut up!|
|Doe het raam nou dicht.||Close that windows, will you? (irritated)|
The modal particles that can occur with imperatives, can be combined into a cluster of two or more. The order is fixed: nou, toch, maar, eens, even. The effect varies, as illustrated in the examples below.
In combination with interrogatives, certain particles (e.g. even, eens, and nou) modulate the impact of the demand expressed by the question, by making it more polite or more urgent.