The imperative

Imperatives are used to give commands, orders and instructions, eg Do your homework! Sit down!

The form used depends on who is being spoken to (, vosotros, usted or ustedes) and if the command is positive (stand up!) or negative (don't stand up!).

To form positive commands for the form, just take the -s off the form of the present tense. For example:

  • hablas (you speak) → ¡Habla! (Speak!)
  • trabajas (you work) → ¡Trabaja! (Work!)
  • comes (you eat) → ¡Come! (Eat!)

These verbs have irregular imperatives in the form:

decir (to say) → di

hacer (to make/do) → haz

salir (to go out) → sal

ser (to be) →

tener (to have) → ten

eg ¡Ten cuidado! (Be careful!)

To form positive commands for the vosotros form, change the -r at the end of the infinitive to a -d:

hablar (to speak) → hablad

correr (to run) → corred

eg ¡Terminad el trabajo! (Finish the work!)

The third person singular (él/ella/usted) or plural (ellos/ellas/ustedes) form of the present subjunctive is used for formal commands, eg ¡Tome! (Take!), ¡Estudien! (Study!).

The present subjunctive form is used for all negative commands. For example:

-ar verbsestudiar (to study)no estudiesno estudiéisno estudieno estudien
-er verbsbeber (to drink)no bebasno bebáisno bebano beban
-ir verbsdecidir (to decide)no decidasno decidáisno decidano decidan

Translate these commands in theform into English.

  1. ¡Cruza la calle!
  2. ¡No bebas el café!
  3. ¡Ve a la tienda!
  4. ¡Responde a la pregunta!
  5. ¡Come más despacio!
  6. ¡No fumes aquí!
  1. Cross the road!
  2. Don't drink the coffee!
  3. Go to the shop!
  4. Answer the question!
  5. Eat more slowly!
  6. Don't smoke here!