Spanish Imperative

INTRODUCTION TO THE IMPERATIVE
Sit down, shut up and study the Spanish imperative! The imperative is used to give orders, instructions, etc. Note that in many of the verb examples below there is a link to the full conjugation of the verb.

In English the imperative is very easy. When we want to give a command or an instruction we just say the verb, e.g. Sit down, Come in, Don't smoke, Listen to me, Shut up, Don't speak to me like that, etc. In Spanish it is much more complicated because the imperative changes according to who we are speaking to and also sometimes we must decide if we want to use the formal version or the informal version. This can be complicated and can be difficult when you are using verbs that you don't use in the imperative very often.

There is also a cultural difference. Generally speaking in English-speaking cultures we avoid using the imperative when speaking to someone we don't know and we use softer versions.
For example, it could be considered quite rude in England to go into a shop and say:
"Give me a can of peas." You would probably say, "Can I have a can of peas please?"

Generally speaking, in Spanish it is more acceptable to use unsoftened imperatives so you shouldn't get offended when a Spanish person uses the unsoftened imperative.

To summarise: There is a fine line between what we would consider an "order" or a "request" in English and in Spanish there are differences. There are also many differences in different parts of the world.
IMPERATIVE
There are basically 4 forms of the imperative:
1. tú (singular, familiar)
2. usted (singular, polite)
3. vosotros (plural, familiar)
4. ustedes (plural, polite)
TÚ FORM (INFORMAL)
Spanish
English
AFFIRMATIVE:
Use the third person (he/she) indicative form:
-AR VERBS:
Toma. Usa este lápiz.

Here you are. Use this pencil.
-ER VERBS:
Come más depacio.

Eat slower.
-IR VERBS:
Parte el pastel en ocho.

Cut the cake into eight.
RADICAL CHANGING VERBS follow the same pattern:
Cierra la puerta.

Close the door.
NEGATIVE:
Use the subjunctive form:
No fumes aquí.
No digas eso.


Don't smoke here.
Don't say that.
VOSOTROS FORM (INFORMAL)
Spanish
English
AFFIRMATIVE:
Take the infinitive, remove the r and add d:
-AR VERBS:
Hablad menos fuerte.

Speak quieter.
-ER VERBS:
Tened paciencia.

Be patient.
-IR VERBS:
Venid aquí.

Come here.
NEGATIVE:
Use the vosotros subjunctive form of the verb:
No mováis.
No habléis todos a la vez.


Don't move.
Don't all speak at the same time.
USTED/USTEDES FORM (POLITE)
AFFIRMATIVE:
Use the third person singular or plural subjunctive form:
Mueva esta silla.
Esperen aquí.


Move this chair.
Wait here.
NEGATIVE:
Use the third person singular or plural subjunctive form:
No compre comida en esa tienda.
No lleven los libros a casa.


Don't buy food in that shop.
Don't take the books home.
IRREGULAR IMPERATIVES FOR THE TÚ FORM
DECIR: di
Dime lo que quieres.
to say, tell
Tell me what you want.
HACER: haz
Haz un esfuerzo.
to do, make
Make an effort.
IR: ve
Vete a casa.
to go
Go home.
PONER: pon
Pon los platos encima de la mesa.
to put
Put the plates on the table.
SALIR: sal
Sal inmediatamente de aquí.
to leave, go out
Leave here immediately.
SER: sé
bueno.
to be
Be good.
TENER: ten
Ten cuidado.
to have
Be careful.
VENIR: ven
Ven aquí.

to come
Come here

REFLEXIVE VERBS
AFFIRMATIVE:
In the affirmative form, the reflexive pronoun is joined to the imperative form:
Siéntate aquí.
NOTE: you will need to put an accent on the verb to show the stress.



Sit down here.
If you use os with the VOSOTROS form, the imperative loses the d:
Sentaos.
Callaos.

Sit down.
Shut up.
NEGATIVE:
In the negative form, the reflexive pronoun goes before the verb:
No te cases con él.
No os quejéis tanto.


Don't marry him.
Don't complain so much.
ORDER OF OBJECT PRONOUNS
AFFIRMATIVE:
In the affirmative form, the object pronouns are joined to the imperative form, first the indirect (to who), then the direct (what):
Dámelo.
Dáselo.
NOTE: you will need to put an accent on the verb to show the stress



Give it to me.
Give it to him/her.
INFINITIVE

It is common to see the infinitive used informally on written signs:
"No hablar con el conductor"

A more polite formal possibility is to use:
Se ruega + infintive
Se ruega no fumar en el aula.



"Don't talk to the driver."



Please don't smoke in the classroom.
VERY STRONG IMPERATIVE
This could be called the end of your tether imperative for very insistent statements.
I think it is supposed to be "Quiero que te ......." (I want that you .....) but the "quiero" part is never said. Here are some examples.
¡Qué te calles de una vez!
¡Qué te vayas!
¡Qué me dejes en paz!
Will you just SHUT UP!!
Just go.
Just leave me alone.

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