Today we are going to see how to form the Negative Spanish Commands, or «el imperativo negativo» as we call it in Spanish. Quite important, because the conjugation of the imperative is going to change depending if we are telling someone to do something or not do it. Have you already seen our lesson about affirmative commands in Spanish? Because it is important you are confident with the affirmative commands before continuing with the lesson.
In Spanish we use the commands all the time, this is not because we are very bossy, but because we use the commands in Spanish not only to order someone to do something (or not do it), but also to give an instruction, strong advice, make an invitation or ask for people attention.
How to form the negative Spanish commands
- 1. In order to tell someone, not to something, we have to place «no» in front of the imperative, but using the “usted” form in the negative Spanish commands (which, by the way, it is the same that the present subjunctive), as a reference. Compare with the examples below.
- ¡Habla (tú)! ¡No hables (tú)!
- ¡Hable (usted)! ¡No hable (usted)!
- ¡Hablad (vosotros)! ¡No habléis (vosotros)!
- ¡Hablen (ustedes)! ¡No hablen (ustedes)!
2. This rule is going to apply to all the verbs event those very irregular, like for instant “ir”:
- ¡Ve (tú)! ¡No vayas (tú)!
- ¡Vaya (usted)! ¡No vaya (usted)!
- ¡Id (vosotros)! ¡No vayáis (vosotros)!
- ¡Vayan (ustedes)! ¡No vayan (ustedes)!
Notice that the form of «ustedes«, which is only used in Spain, has an accent.
3. As we learned in the previous lesson when you are asking someone to do something, the personal pronoun is joined to the verb:
- Dime (tell me).
- Explícamelo (explain it to me).
- Lávate las manos (wash your hands).
Nevertheless, in the negative Spanish commands, pronouns go before the verb:
- No me digas (don’t tell me).
- No me lo expliques (don’t explain it to me).
- No te laves las manos (don’t wash your hands).
Anyway, you will learn more about personal pronouns with commands in Spanish in the next lesson.
Imperative negative exercices
You will agree with me that the best way to learn Spanish, or any other language, is by practicing, so below you can find some exercises to test your knowledge about negative Spanish commands.
If you are eager to continue practicing, click on the button below to have more exercises with the negative imperative. Remember that you can write to your tutor with any questions you have. Don’t have an online Spanish teacher yet?
When you finish, come back here to continue with the next lesson: pronouns with commands.