Can an imperative sentence have a subject?
This is a followup to this comment.
User Schmuddi asserted that:
English imperative sentences are subjectless.
but did not cite any source or authority.
I responded that each of the following imperative sentences has a subject:
- George, open the door!
- Smith, answer the phone!
- Team Five, get that test working today!
- Battalion, Halt!
- Mr Slater, put her on the starboard tack!
In each case te person or group to whom the command is addressed starts the sentence, in the usual position of a subject. In many cases a command may be unclear unless the person (or group) to whom it is addressed is clearly stated. It is therefore essential to the meaning of the sentence.
Given the default Subject-verb-object order of an English sentence, it seems obvious to me that these are subjects. In "George gave me that phone", the subject is clearly "George". I think that in the roughly parallel sentence "George, fix that phone" the subject is obviously also "George". If "George" isn't the subject of the second sentence, then what is it?
Consider also imperatives where the addrss is more generic, such as:
Someone, get me some water!
Does it make any sense to say that there is an implied subject "you" making the sentence:
Someone, [you] get me some water!
I don't think so.
As Schmuddi has asked for a reference on this, I would appreciate any answers citing a source of some sort for their position on whether or not these are subjects.