Imperative Mood (commands)

Commands

Commands from the Spanish in Texas Corpus

The imperative (imperativo) is used to give commands or orders. You may recognize the imperative from commands such as oye or repite. It is one of three moods in the Spanish language. Unlike the other moods, the imperative is not divided into tenses. Keep in mind that the imperative is a very direct way to give an order. It is often replaced with more polite alternatives like the conditional.

Formation

There are four forms of the imperative: , usted, nosotros, and ustedes. The nosotros form is used to give an order that involves oneself as well as others, though it often expresses a suggestion as its translation let’s... indicates.

Regular -ar verbs:

hablar  to speak
  nosotros/as hablemos
 habla/ no hables  
usted hable ustedes hablen

Regular -er and -ir verbs:

decir  to say
nosotros/as digamos
tú digas  
usted diga ustedes digan

 

Usted, nosotros, and ustedes commands

For the usted, nosotros, and ustedes forms, the imperative is formed using the corresponding forms of the present subjunctive.

  1. yo form
  2. drop the o
  3. add the opposite vowel (with correct ending for that person)

As seen in the example below, hagan is an Ustedes command, from the verb hacerFollowing the formula above we get: 1. hago 2. hag 3. hagan

Ve, hagan las oraciones.
Go, make the sentences.

Irregulars

Verbs that don’t end in -o in their yo form present tense, like ser –> soy and ir –> voy are irregular in the present subjunctive.

  • Ser: sea, seamos, sean
  • Estar: esté, estemos, estén
  • Ir:  vaya, vayamos, vayan
  • Saber:  sepa, sepamos, sepan
  • Dar: dé, demos, den

commands

The form is a little more complicated, as its form depends on whether it is an affirmative command (telling someone to do something) or a negative command (telling someone not to do something).

  • Affirmative commands: use él/ella/usted form of the present indicative.
  • Negative command: use the corresponding forms of the present subjunctive, like the usted, nosotros, and ustedes.

Irregular Affirmative Commands

There are several verbs that have irregular affirmative  imperative forms. There are several mnemonic devices to help you remember these, such as: Vin Diesel Has Ten Weapons –> Ven Di Sal Haz Ten Ve Pon Se

  • Ser: sé 
  • Poner: pon 
  • Tener: ten
  • Salir: sal
  • Venir: ven
  • Ir: ve
  • Decir: di
  • Hacer: haz
Entonces siempre le decía: tú ponte atrás, déjame caminar en frente que ya Alina…
So I always told him: stay back, let me go first that Alina already…

Irregular Affirmative Commands

Negative Commands

In negative commands (an order not to do something), place the negation no before the imperative. Moreover, negative imperatives are always formed using the corresponding forms of the present subjunctive, even for the form, as in No mires (Don’t look).

hablar  to speak
  nosotros/as no hablemos
no hables  
él/ella/usted no hable ellos/as/ustedes no hablen
Y me dijo, nada más que yo le dije: no digas nada a mi mamá porque mi mamá después me va a pegar a mí.
And he told me, I just told him: do not tell anything to my mom because my mom then would beat me up.

Imperative and Pronouns

Affirmatives

For affirmative imperatives the subject pronoun is often dropped and the object pronouns are placed after the verb and are attached to it. If there are 2 pronouns, their order will always be indirect object/reflexive first and then direct object pronouns. If the command is two syllables or more, then an accent mark is placed on the second to last syllable, not counting the pronouns.

Arrímamelo, por favor.Bring me it please.

Negatives

In negative commands, the object pronouns are placed in front of the verb and they are written as separate words. If there are 2 pronouns, their order will always be indirect object/reflexive first and then direct object pronouns.

No lo compres por favor.Do not buy it please.

  • With indirect object and direct object pronouns: 

No me lo compres.Do not buy me that.