Spanish Imperatives

When we tell someone to do something, give an order, or make a command, we are using the imperative form. This type of phrase often does not include a subject (it is implied that it is the person you are talking to), and, strictly speaking, is not a complete sentence.

In English, the command form is the unconjugated verb without "to."
Go to the store!
Eat your vegetables!
Win the game!

In [lesson 28 - subject pronouns] you learned about the different ways to say you - tú, usted, vosotros/as, andustedes. Each of these pronouns takes a different command form. This makes commands a little bit difficult to learn, but it also means that you are able to include more informationin one little command - you show how many people you are talking to, and your relationship with them.

Familiar (Túandvosotros) affirmative commands
These command forms are used to give positive commands to people we are familiar with. For regular verbs, tú commands are formed by dropping the -r at the end of the verb. For -ar and -er verbs, you're done! For -ir verbs, the -i changes to -e.
There are only 8 verbs with irregular tú form commands:
decir (to say):di
hacer (to make or do):haz
ir (to go):ve
poner (to put):pon
salir (to leave):sal
ser (to be):sé
tener (to have):ten
venir (to come):ven

For the vosotrosform, you just remove the -r at the end of the verb and add -d. All verbs are regular in this form.
Cantar [to sing]
Affirmative túcommand: ¡Canta!
Affirmative Vosotroscommand: ¡Cantad!

Comer [to eat]
Affirmative túcommand: ¡Come!
Affirmative Vosotroscommand: ¡Comed!

Escribir [to write]
Affirmative túcommand: ¡Escribe!
Affirmative Vosotroscommand: ¡Escribid!
Formal (usted and ustedes) commands AND negative commands all forms
For everything besides affirmative tú and vosotros forms, you will use the subjunctive form of the verb. The subjunctive mood is an advanced grammar topic, so we don't need to get too far into it here. Luckily, it isn't too difficult to form the subjunctive, even if you don't know about the grammar behind it. You conjugate regular -ar, -er, and -ir verbs the same way you learned in [Lesson 5 - Present tense], except you use the opposite ending. For -ar verbs, you use -er endings; for -er and -ir verbs, you use -ar endings. That's it!
Cantar [to sing]
negativetúcommand: ¡Nocantes!
Negative Vosotroscommand: ¡Nocantéis!
Usted commands: ¡Cante! or ¡Nocante!
Ustedes commands: ¡Canten! or ¡No canten!

comer [to eat]
negativetúcommand: ¡No comas!
Negative Vosotroscommand: ¡No comáis!
Usted commands: ¡Coma! or ¡Nocoma!
Ustedes commands: ¡Coman! or ¡No coman!

Escribir [to write]
negativetúcommand: ¡No escribas!
Negative Vosotroscommand: ¡No escribáis!
Usted commands: ¡Escriba! or ¡Noescriba!
Ustedes commands: ¡Escriban! or ¡No escriban!

Some notes:
The exclamations are used above to make it clear which are the imperative forms. Spanish speakers often use exclamation marks to indicate the imperative forms. They won't necessarily translate to English. ¡Mira! Might just be translated as [Look.]

Remember that the vosotros form is only used in Spain. In Latin America, ustedes commands are used for any group, even with children or relatives.

Object pronouns and reflexive pronouns are attached to the end of affirmative commands. (They precede negative commands, as in normal sentence.) If you add both an indirect and direct object, the indirect object comes first. If adding pronouns to the end of a word changes where the stress would fall, add an accent to maintain the correct pronunciation.

Háblame [talk to me]
Dámelo [give it to me]
Mándamela [Send it to me]

Related Links:
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