Imperative in Spanish (affirmative commands)
Spanish has two ways of expressing orders. The affirmative and the negative form of the imperative. Here is the affirmative form:
- 1.Forming the imperative: Instructions TO DO something (imperativo affirmativo)
- 1.1.Formation of the imperative (affirmative) - tú
- 1.2.Formation of the imperative (affirmative) - usted, ustedes and nosotros
- 1.3.Formation of the imperative (affirmative) - vosotros
- 2.Irregular forms in imperativo afirmativo
- 2.1.8 highly irregular verbs in Imperative
- 3.Position of object pronouns
Forming the imperative: Instructions TO DO something (imperativo affirmativo)
The imperative does not exist for all "persons", but only for tú, nosotros, vosotros and usted or ustedes. The endings are significantly different from the endings of other tenses and must be memorized. What you have to keep in mind is that the vowels in some of the endings change. Some forms can also be found in the subjuntivo.
|Personal pronoun||Imperative llamar||Imperative beber||Imperative escribir|
Formation of the imperative (affirmative) - tú
The formation of tú (2nd person-singular) can be derived from the 3rd person-singular of the Present (Indicative)
|Infinitive||3. Person Sing. Present||2. Person Sing. Imperative (affirmative)|
- imperativo afirmativo: ¡Llama a tu amiga! (tú) (Call your friend!)
- indicativo presente: (ella) Llama a su amiga. (She calls her friend)
Formation of the imperative (affirmative) - usted, ustedes and nosotros
The imperative forms of usted (3rd person-singular) and ustedes (3rd person-plural), as well as nosotros (1st person plural) are formed "normally" as in the indicative present tense, but for verbs on -ar the vowel of the ending becomes e and for verbs on -er and -ir the vowel changes into an a. This pattern can also be found in the subjuntivo present.
- imperativo afirmativo: ¡Bebamos! (nosotros) (Let's drink!)
- indicativo presente: Nosotros bebemos. (We drink)
Formation of the imperative (affirmative) - vosotros
The imperative form of vosotros (2nd person plural) can be derived from the infinitive. Only the r at the end of the infinitive is replaced by d.
- infinitivo: escribir (to write)
- imperativo afirmativo: ¡Escribid! (Write!)
Irregular forms in imperativo afirmativo
Verbs that are already irregular in the 3rd person-singular (él, ella, usted) in the present tense (indicative) also have the same irregularity in the imperative 2nd person-singular. This applies to diphtong, vocal changes and changes due to the pronunciation rules.
- indicativo presente: Empieza. (He/She starts)
- imperativo afirmativo: ¡Empieza! (Start!)
- indicativo presente: Carlos vuelve a casa. (Carlos comes back home)
- imperativo afirmativo: ¡Vuelve a casa! (Come back home!)
- indicativo presente: Elige. (He/She chooses)
- imperativo afirmativo: ¡Elige! (Choose!)
For a little refresh, you can check the present tense page again
8 highly irregular verbs in Imperative
The Spanish imperative has 8 highly irregular verbs (decir, hacer, ir, tener, venir, salir, traer and oír).
Position of object pronouns
If you are telling someone TO DO something, the object pronouns join on to the END of the verb. An accent is usually added to make sure that the stress in the imperative verb stays.
- ¡Explícamelo! (Explain it to me!)
- ¡Perdóneme! (Excuse-me!)
- Dígame (Tell me)
- Esperémosla (Let's wait for her)
Note that when there are two object pronouns, the indirect object pronoun always goes before the direct object pronoun.
Don't forget to look at the negative imperative too! It is formed differently!
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