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Imperative or Command Form

The imperative or command form only exists in the tú, usted, ustedes, and nosotros forms of the verbs.

This lesson includes information on:

  1. Imperative or Command Formation Affirmative
  2. Imperative or Command Formation Negative
  3. Indirect and Direct Object Pronouns with Imperatives
  4. Irregular Imperative or Command Verbs

 

1.  Imperative or Command Formation Affirmative

The imperative or command form is used to express:

1.      A command or an order.  For example: Coma usted los vegetales. ({You (formal)} Eat the vegetables.) Mira tú.({You (informal)} Look.)

2.      To beg. For example, Quiero que usted hable conmigo. (I want you to speak to me.)

3.      To give advice or suggestions.  For example, Invitemos a Jorge a la fiesta.  (Let’s invite Jorge to the party.)

  • Direct commandsin the form (familiar) are formed dropping the –s from the tú form in the present tense. For example:

Spanish

English

Spanish Conjugation

English Conjugation

Hablar

To speak

Tú habla

You (informal) speak

Comer

To eat

Tú come

You (informal) eat

Vivir

To live

Tú vive

You (informal) live

Pensar

To think

Tú piensa

You (informal) think

Volver

To return

Tú vuelve

You (informal) come back

Dormir

To sleep

Tú duerme

You (informal) sleep

  • Direct commandsin the usted form (2nd person formal) are formed by dropping the –o in the yo (1st person singular) form of the present tense and adding the usted ending of the present subjunctive. In other words, for the verbs ending in –ar, drop the _ar and add “e”; and from the verbs ending in _er or –ir, drop these endings and add “a”. For example:

Spanish

English

Spanish Conjugation

English Conjugation

Hablar

To speak

Usted hable

You (formal) speak

Comer

To eat

Usted coma

You (formal) eat

Vivir

To live

Usted viva

You (formal) live

  • Direct commandsin the ustedes form (2nd person plural) are formed by dropping the –o in the yo (1st person singular) form of the present tense and adding the ustedes ending of the present subjunctive. For example:

Spanish

English

Spanish Conjugation

English Conjugation

Hablar

To speak

Ustedes hablen

You (plural) speak

Comer

To eat

Ustedes coman

You (plural) eat

Vivir

To live

Ustedes vivan

You (plural) live

  • Nosotros commandsare not direct commands but suggestions.  Suggestions in the nosotros form (1st person plural) are formed by using the present subjunctive form of nosotros. For example:

Spanish

English

Spanish Conjugation

English Conjugation

Hablar

To speak

Nosotros hablemos

Let's speak

Comer

To eat

Nosotros comamos

Let's eat

Vivir

To live

Nosotros vivamos

Let's live

2.  Imperative or Command Formation Negative

The negative imperative or command form is used to express:

1.      A command or an order.  For example: No coma los vegetales. ({You (formal)} Don’t eat the vegetables.) No mires.({You (informal)} Don’t look.)

2.      To beg. For example, Quiero que usted no hable conmigo. (I want you to not speak to me.)

3.      To give advice or suggestions.  For example, No invitemos a Jorge a la fiesta.  (Let’s not invite Jorge to the party.)

  • Negative direct commandsin the form (familiar) are formed by using the present subjunctive form of tú. For example:

Spanish

English

Spanish Conjugation

English Conjugation

Hablar

To speak

No hables

You (informal) don't speak

Comer

To eat

No comas

You (informal) don't eat

Vivir

To live

No vivas

You (informal) don't live

  • Negative direct commandsin the usted form (2nd person formal) are formed by dropping the –o in the yo (1st person singular) form of the present tense and adding the usted ending of the present subjunctive. For example:

Spanish

English

Spanish Conjugation

English Conjugation

Hablar

To speak

No hable

You (formal) don't speak

Comer

To eat

No coma

You (formal) don't eat

Vivir

To live

No viva

You (formal) don't live

  • Negative direct commandsin the ustedes form (2nd person plural) are formed by dropping the –o in the yo (1st person singular) form of the present tense and adding the ustedes ending of the present subjunctive. For example:

Spanish

English

Spanish Conjugation

English Conjugation

Hablar

To speak

Ustedes no hablen

You (plural) don't speak

Comer

To eat

Ustedes no coman

You (plural) don't eat

Vivir

To live

Ustedes no vivan

You (plural) don't live

  • Negative suggestion commandsin the nosotros form (1st person plural) are formed by using the present subjunctive form of nosotros. For example:

Spanish

English

Spanish Conjugation

English Conjugation

Hablar

To speak

Nosotros no hablemos

Let's not speak

Comer

To eat

Nosotros no comamos

Let's not eat

Vivir

To live

Nosotros no vivamos

Let's not live

 

3.  Indirect and Direct Object Pronouns with Imperatives

The imperative or command form is used to express:

1.      A command or an order.  For example, Cómalos. ({You (formal)} Eat them.)

2.      To give direct orders.  For example, Mírala.({You (informal)} Look at it.)

3.      To beg. For example, Quiero que usted me lo dé. (I want you to give it to me.)

4.      To give advice.  For example, Invitémosla a la fiesta.  (Let’s invite her to the party.)

  • Affirmative direct commandswith direct and indirect object pronouns attach the pronouns to the end of the commands and an accent is added to the command to maintain proper pronunciation. For example:

Spanish

English

Spanish Conjugation

English Conjugation

Hablar

To speak

Hábleme

You (informal) speak to me

Comer

To eat

Cómanla

You (plural) eat it

Vivir

To live

Vivámoslo

Let's live it

The indirect object pronoun always goes before the direct object pronoun. For example:

Spanish

English

Spanish Conjugation

English Conjugation

Explicar

To explain

Explícamelo

You (informal) explain it to me

Comer

To eat

Cómetelo

You (informal) eat it yourself

Vivir

To live

Escríbeselo

You (informal) write it for him/her

  • Negative Direct Commands withdirect and indirect object pronouns are formed by having the pronouns come before the command but after the word no. For example:

Spanish

English

Spanish Conjugation

English Conjugation

Explicar

To explain

No me lo expliques

You (informal) don't explain it to me

Comer

To eat

Nola coman

You (plural) don't eat it

Vivir

To live

No lo escribamos

Let's not write it

  • In soft commands(beg) or desire statements, the pronouns come before the conjugated command verb.  The second clause of the sentence is always conjugated in the subjunctive form. For example:

Spanish

English

Spanish Conjugation

English Conjugation

Explicar

To explain

Quiero que me lo expliques

I want you (informal) to explain it to me

Comer

To eat

Espero que la coman

I wish that you (plural) eat it

Vivir

To live

Sugiero que lo escribamos

I suggest that we write it

4.  Irregular Imperative or Command Verbs

Irregular imperative verbs exist in the forms of tú, usted, ustedes and nosotros.   

  • The irregular imperative verbs in the tú form (familiar) are:

 

Spanish

English

Spanish Affirmative

Spanish Negative

Decir

To tell

Di

No digas

Hacer

To do, make

Haz

No hagas

Ir

To go

Ve

No vayas

Ser

To be

No seas

Salir

To leave

Sal

No salgas

Poner

To put

Pon

No pongas

Tener

To have

Ten

No tengas

Venir

To come

Ven

No vengas

  • The irregular imperative verbs in the usted/ustedes forms are:

Spanish

English

Spanish Affirmative/Negative Usted

Spanish Affirmative/Negative Ustedes

Dar

To give

Dé

Dén

Decir

To tell

Diga

Digan

Estar

To be

Esté

Estén

Hacer

To do, make

Haga

Hagan

Ir

To go

Vaya

Vayan

Oír

To hear

Oiga

Oigan

Poner

To put

Ponga

Pongan

Saber

To know

Sepa

Sepan

Ser

To be

Sea

Sean

Tener

To have

Tenga

Tengan

Traer

To bring

Traiga

Traigan

Venir

To come

Venga

Vengan

Ver

To see

Vea

Vean

  • The irregular imperative verbs in the nosotros form are:

Spanish

English

Spanish Affirmative

Nosotros

Spanish Negative

Nosotros

Ir

To go

Vamos/Vayamos

No vayamos

Irse

To go now

Vámonos

No nos vayamos