Imperative
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presente imperativo  (imperative, command, exhortation, present imperative)

For commanding or encouraging immediate action.  Only the and vosotros forms for positive commands are different from the present subjunctive:

form – same as usted 3rd person present – the formality when used to a familiar conveys importance

vosotros form – change the r of the infinitive to d  (not used in Latin America; also in Spain may stay as r).

So:

tomar:  toma,  tomad

comer:  come,  comed

decidir:  decide,  decidid

e.g.,

Espera aquí – (you, fam.) wait here

¡Mirad la cuenta! – look (you, fam pl.) at the bill!

Common irregular tú forms (the vosotros form of these is regular r  →  d):

decirdi      hacerhaz      irve      ponerpon  
salirsal      ser      tenerten      venirven  

e.g.,

Sé bueno – be good

¡Ten cuidado! – take care!


There are also the formal usted and ustedes forms, and a nosotros/as form (used for Let’s ...); these use the subjunctive, as do all negative imperatives. In full:

  -ar -er -ir  
(no yo form)
positive -a -e -e  = present indicative  3rd person (usted)
negative -es -as -as  present subjunctive
usted -e -a -a  present subjunctive
nosotros/as -emos -amos -amos  present subjunctive
vosotros/as   positive -ad -ed -íd  = infinitive with r replaced by d
negative -éis -áis -áis  present subjunctive
ustedes -en -an an  present subjunctive

e.g., for positive imperatives:

Siga todo recto (usted) – Carry straight on

Comamos – Let’s eat

Giren a la derecha (ustedes) – (you all) Turn right

and for negative imperatives:

¡No me molestes! – don’t disturb me!  (‘Don’t even think of disturbing me!’)

¡No comas! – don’t eat!


Pronouns (these examples use object pronouns, for others, see pronouns table):

positive imperative: pronoun goes after the verb:

¡Dígame! – (usted) tell me!

Pongáme un kilo de patatas – give me (put me) a kilo of potatoes

negative imperative: pronoun goes before the verb:

¡No me molestes! – don’t disturb me!

¡No me lo mandes! – don’t send it to me!


Imperatives can also be conveyed as ‘you must...’ in various forms.

e.g.:

Descanse una semana – Rest for a week  (imperative usted)

Debe descansar una semana – You have to rest for a week (usted must to rest ...)

Tiene que descansar una semana – You must rest for a week (usted have to rest...)


Imperative was last edited on 2021-01-02  
Topic: Spanish