Spanish commands: imperative affirmative (A2)

We use the Spanish commands (EL IMPERATIVO)  to tell people what to do or not to do, to give advice and instructions. Because there are four words for «you» (tú, usted, vosotros, ustedes), there are four you imperative.

Dame el libro (give me the book – ).

Deme el libro (give me the book – USTED).

Dadme el libro (give me the book – VOSOTROS).

Denme el libro (give me the book – USTEDES).

Forming the imperative affirmative

Spanish commands: imperative affirmative

Forming the imperative affirmative

1. Most imperatives are identical to the él/ella/usted form of the present indicative (regular verbs and boot verbs stem-changing verbs).

Piensa en los demás (Think about others).

Bebe mucha agua (Drink a lot of water).

2. Vosotros imperative replaces the final –r of the infinitive with –d. All the verbs follow this rule.

¡Mirad el arcoiris! (Look at the rainbow).

¡Id a jugar al jardín! (Go play in the garden).

3. Usted, ustedes imperatives are identical to the equivalent forms in the present subjunctive, which just change a vowel from the «tú» form.

Espera aquí (wait here – informal) –  Espere aquí (wait here – formal).

Bebe mucha agua (informal) – Beba mucha agua (formal).

4. Verbs that in the present tense are irregular in the first person (yo) by adding a “g”, make the imperative in a different way: digo = di, vengo = ven, hago = haz, tengo= ten, pongo = pon, salgo = sal

Ven con nosotros. (Come with us.)

Ten cuidado. (Be careful.)

Haz los ejercicios. (Do the homework.) 

For this group of verbs, the usted is made with the  «o« in the first person of the present for an «a«

Venga con nosotros. (Come with us.)

Tenga cuidado. (Be careful.)

Haga los ejercicios. (Do the homework.)

 5. There are two completely irregular: ser and ir.

bueno. (Be good – informal.)   –  Sea bueno. (Be good –   formal.)

 Ve a la escuela. (Go to the school- informal.) – Vaya a la escuela. (Go to the school- formal.) 

6.  In positive imperative, i.e. when telling someone to do something, object pronouns are attached to the of the verbs. An accent is added to keep the stress in the same place as it would be without the pronoun (learn more about imperative and the pronouns):

Háblame. (Speak to me.)

Escríbenos. (Write to us.)

7. The imperative negative, to tell someone not to do something, we put «no» in front of the relevant form the present subjunctive (learn more about the imperative negative).

Imperative affirmative exercises

Now you can practice everything you have learned about the Spanish commands in affirmative with the quiz below.

You can also see how the imperative work in context by watching the vídeo «Mi receta de gazpacho» or by listening to the podcast «En el médico«.  Finally, remember you can contact your tutor for any question you have about the Spanish commands. Don’t you have a Spanish personal tutor yet?

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