Imperative in French
When to use the imperative in French?
The imperative (French l'impératif) is the verbal mood which is used to express an order, an advice, a recommendation or a prohibition.
- Parlez plus lentement, je ne vous comprends pas = Speak more slowly, i don't understand you.
- Finissons le travail et allons nous promener = Let's finish the job and let's go for a walk.
- Demande cela au conseiller, il t'aidera = Ask this to the consultant, he will help you.
How to form the imperative in French?
1) The imperative of 1st group of the French verbs is formed by the endings "e", "ons" and "ez" added to the stem of the verb.
2) The imperative of 2nd group of the French verbs is formed by the endings "is", "issons", "issez".
3) The imperative of 3rd group of the French verbs is formed by the endings "s", "ons", "ez".
|Regular verbs||1st group||2nd group||3rd group|
|2nd person singular||- e (marcher - marche)||- is (finir - finis)||- s (prendre - prends)|
|1st person plural||- ons (marcher - marchons)||- issons (finir - finissons)||- ons (prendre - prenons)|
|2nd person plural||- ez (marcher - marchez)||- issez (finir - finissez)||- ez (prendre - prenez)|
|Irregular verbs||Vouloir (To want)|
|2nd person singular||veuille|
|1st person plural||veuillons|
|2nd person plural||veuillez|
- Allons au marché! = Let's go to the market!
- Ayez honte de dire cela = Have shame to tell this.
- Sois prudent en traversant la rue = Be careful while crossing the street.
- Sachez la vérité avant de constater quelque chose = Know the truth before stating something.
- Veuillez faire attention aux erreurs = Be kind to put attention on the errors.
How to form the past imperative in French ?
The imperative past is not really used but it is always good to learn it. It allows to express the anteriority of an ordered action compared to an action which is not yet realized.
It is a compound time, so it uses the auxiliary avoir or être conjugated to the imperative present + the past participle
|Verbs||1st group||2nd group||3rd group|
|2nd person singular||aie marché||aie fini||sois allé|
|1st person plural||ayons marché||ayons fini||soyons allés(e)|
|2nd person plural||ayez marché||ayez fini||soyez allés(e)|
- Soyez rentrés avant le repas! = be back before lunch !
- Aie fini avant que je ne revienne. = finish before I get back
- Aie parlé avec lui. = talk with him !
- Soyez allé à la foire avant qu'il ne pleuve. = go to the fair before it rains !
How to form the imperative of French pronominal verbs ?
Forming affirmative imperative of pronominal verbs the reflexive pronouns te, nous, vous become stress pronouns toi, nous, vous. They are placed after the verb with a hyphen in between.
|Infinitive||2nd person singular||1st person plural||2nd person plural|
|Se laver (To wash yourself)||Lave-toi||Lavons-nous||Lavez-vous|
|Se calmer (To calm down)||Calme-toi||Calmons-nous||Calmez-vous|
|S'habiller (To get dressed)||Habille-toi||Habillons-nous||Habillez-vous|
|Se maquiller (To put on make-up)||Maquille-toi||Maquillons-nous||Maquillez-vous|
The negative form of the French imperative
The negative imperative is formed with the particle "ne" + form of affirmative imperative of verb + particle "pas".
The negative imperative of pronominal verbs is formed by the same way keeping the regular order of words and the reflexive pronouns te, vous, nous.
|Affirmative imperative||Negative imperative|
|Parle||Ne parle pas|
|Regardons||Ne regardons pas|
|Montez||Ne montez pas|
|Lève-toi||Ne te lève pas|
|Couchez-vous||Ne vous couchez pas|
Irregular forms of the imperative in French
The imperatives of être, avoir and savoir are irregular. their form are the subjunctive forms.
The imperative forms of "aller" are "va, allons, allez". Va become vas and the familiar imperative of -er verbs adds s before the pronouns y and en.
- Vas-y ! (go ahead)
- Parles-en ! (talk about it)
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