What is the imperative?

An explanation of how the imperative form of a verb is used to order or instruct someone to do something

The imperative is a used to convey a command, suggestion, request or instruction, for example:

  • get up! → lève-toi !
  • close the door → ferme la porte
  • add 100g of flour → ajoutez 100g de farine

How to form the imperative

To form the imperative, drop the tu, vous or nous and keep the verb in the present tense:

  • prendre: tu prendsprends ! - take!
  • faire: vous faitesfaites ! - do/make!
  • aller: nous allonsallons ! - let's go!
  • partir: tu parspars ! - leave!

With -er verbs, take the final -s off the tu form of the verb:

  • tu regardesregarde ! - look!
  • tu mangesmange ! - eat!

Reflexive verbs in the imperative

With reflexive verbs in the tu form, the te changes to toi, but you must add a hyphen:

  • tu te lèveslève-toi ! - stand up!
  • tu t'assiedsassieds-toi ! - sit down!

Making suggestions

If you want to suggest doing something, use the imperative form of nous:

  • allons à la piscine ! - let's go to the swimming pool!
  • prenons un taxi ! - let's take a taxi!