Imperative/Command Tense

The imperative tense is also known as the command form of a verb.  You need to use the command form if you’re telling someone to do something. There are three forms for commands: (informal ‘you’), usted (formal ‘you’) or ustedes (you all) and nosotros (‘we’).

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Tú Form

For the form, use the first person (yo) of the verb, then remove the “o” (or oy) and add “a” for -ar verbs or “e” for -er or -ir verbs. Or just use the third person (él/ella) form of the verb. Note how in the middle column, all the command words are the exact same as the third person singular form of the verb.

Tomar            ¡Toma!          Take!
Pagar             ¡Paga!            Pay!
Enviar            ¡Envía!          Send!
Comer            ¡Come!          Eat!
Correr            ¡Corre!          Run!
Pedir              ¡Pide!             Order!

Example:

¡Tómalo!                      Take it!
¡Envía la carta!          Send the letter!

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Negative Commands (Regular Verbs)

To form a negative command, use present tense of yo form of the verb. Remove the “o” (or “oy”) and add -es for -ar verbs, and -as for -er and -ir verbs.

For example: tomar -> tomes, comer -> comas, pedir -> pidas.

¡No lo tomes!                 Don’t take it!
¡No envíes la carta!      Don’t send the letter!


Irregular Verbs for the tú form

There are a few irregular verbs for the tú imperative tense:

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Salir   (to leave) ¡Sal! ¡No salgas!
Decir   (to say) ¡Di! ¡No digas!
Hacer   (to do) ¡Haz! ¡No hagas!
Ir   (to go) ¡Ve! ¡No veas!
Venir   (to come) ¡Ven! ¡No vengas!
Poner   (to put) ¡Pon! ¡No pongas!
Ser   (to be) ¡Sé! ¡No seas!
Tener   (to have) ¡Ten! ¡No tengas!

¡Sal del cuarto!                    Leave the room!
¡No digas nada!                  Don’t say anything!

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Usted Form

To be more polite, use the usted form of the imperative tense. To form an affirmative or negative command, use the first person (yo) of the present tense, take out the “o” (or “oy”) at the end, and add an e” for -ar verbs, and “a” for -ir and -er verbs.

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Present tense – first person singular

Remove the o

Add an a – Usted imperative

Hacer

yo hago

hag

(no) haga

Salir

yo salgo

salg

(no) salga

¡Salga del cuarto!                Leave the room!
¡No salga de cuarto!           Don’t leave the room!


Irregular verbs

There are four irregular verbs in the usted(es) imperative:
Ir                ¡Vaya!       Go!
Ser              ¡Sea!         Be!
Saber         ¡Sepa!       Know!

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Ustedes Form

Commands in the ustedes form are the same as the usted form, with the exception that an “n” is added at the end of the verb.

¡Hagan!       Do!
¡Vayan!       Go!
¡Sean!         Be!
¡Coman!    Eat!

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Nosotros Form

When telling a group you are part of to do something (i.e. “Let’s…”), use the nosotros form. For the nosotros form, use the present tense “yo” form of the verb, remove the “o” and add “-emos” for -ar verbs and “-amos” for -er and -ir verbs.

Trabajar:   ¡Trabajemos!     Let’s work!       ¡No trabajemos!   Let’s not work!
Decir:         ¡Digamos!          Let’s say!          ¡No digamos!         Let’s not say!

**affirmative and negative for the nosotros form are the same.

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Stem-changing ir verbs

“o” changes to “u” = Dormir – ¡Durmamos!   Let’s sleep!
“e” changes to “ie” verbs = mentir – ¡Mintamos!   Let’s lie!
“e” changes to “i” verbs = sentir – ¡Sintamos!   Let’s feel!

Stem-changing verbs will NOT change (except stem-changing -ir verbs)

Mover – ¡Movamos!   Let’s move!
Pernsar – ¡Pensemos!   Let’s think!
Volver – ¡Volvamos!   Let’s go back!

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Irregular verbs in the nosotros form

Ir  -  ¡Vamos!  -  No vayamos!
Irse  -  ¡Vamonos!  -  No nos vayamos!
Saber  -  ¡Sepamos!  -  No sepamos!
Ser  -  ¡Seamos!  -  No seamos!

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Affirmative commands with object pronouns:

The object pronouns needs to be attached to the end of the verb.

¡Dame!   -   Give me!
¡Hazme un favor   –   Do me a favor!
¡Traelo!   –   Bring it!
¡Cómpralo!   –   Buy it!
¡Ponte los zapatos!   –   Put your shoes on!
¡Déjame solo!   -  Leave me alone!

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When There’s More Than One Object Pronoun in a Sentence:

RID Rule: Reflexive Pronoun, Indirect Object, Direct Object

There are three types of object pronouns in this rule, but you can never have more than two object pronouns in a sentence. Why? Because there’s only room in a sentence for one direct object pronoun representing all of your direct objects, and one indirect object pronoun representing all of your indirect objects—and a reflexive pronoun is just a type of the former.

When you have two object pronouns in a sentence, these pronouns will always appear in the RID order: reflexive, indirect object and direct object. These pronouns can appear in these possible combinations: reflexive-indirect (rare), reflexive-direct, and indirect-direct.  The LL rule also applies here. See more about RID & LL Rule

¡Dámelo!  – Give it to me!
¡Traémelo!  -  Bring it to me!
¡Póngaselos!  -  Put them on! (you formal)

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Negative Commands with object pronouns

With a negative command, the object pronoun(s) will go before the verb. The RID & LL Rule also apply here.

¡No me lo des!  -  Don’t give it to me!
¡No me lo traigas!  -  Don’t bring it to me!
¡No se los ponga!  -  Don’t put them on (you formal)

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