The imperative (el imperativo in Spanish) is used to give orders. If you want to tell someone to turn a light on, for example, or to stop doing something, then you’ll need to use the imperative in Spanish. In addition to issuing commands, the imperative is used to:
- to give permission
- to offer something
- to give advice, instructions, or orders
The imperative comes in two forms: the positive (telling someone to do something) and the negative (telling someone to not do something).
Before we get into using el imperativo, it’s important to remember that you must distinguish between tú and usted (informal and formal versions of “you,” respectively). How to address someone. (Youtube)
Conjugating El Imperativo
When you give orders to or recommend something to a person you are familiar with or to children you use 3rd person singular in present tense in imperative affirmative.
If you want to be polite and use USTED/USTEDES, the verbs change their form. AR-verbs get e/en and er/ir-verbs get a/an. See the table for examples.
In all negative forms you use the same as the USTED/USTEDES-forms.
Let’s talk, eat, write:
To encourage someone to do something with you you use 1st person plural subjunctive form:
HABLEMOS, COMAMOS, ESCRIBAMOS
There are only three persons that use el imperativo because you cannot order yourself, he, she, or us to do something—you can only order someone you’re talking to (i.e., “you”) to do something.
The regular imperative form of the verb:
|Verbs with irregular form in positive imperative informal form (tu)||Verbs with irregular form in positive and negative imperative informal form usted/ustedes|
|Poner – pon
ser – sé
decir – di
ir – ve
hacer – haz
salir – sal
tener – ten
venir – ven
|Tener – (No) Tengas/tenga/tengamos/tengan
Hacer – (no)
Salir – (No)
Decir – (No)
Venir – (No) Vengas/Venga/vengamos/vengan
Poner – (No) Pongas/Ponga/pongamos/pongan
Caer – (No)
Traer – (No) Traigas/traiga/traigamos/traigan
Dar – (No)
|Verbs with irregular form in negative imperative informal form (tu) (NO)|
|Poner – pongas
ser – seas
decir – digas
ir – vayas
hacer – hagas
salir – salgas
tener – tengas
venir – vengas
Traer – traigas
|Dar – des
Pedir – pidas
Dormir – duermas
Jugar – juegas
Pensar – pienses
Constructing a Sentence with El Imperativo
Pronouns in Spanish can be attached to verb in two different ways.
1) in front of the conjugated verb
Te lo llevo. (I will bring it to you.)
2) attached behind the infinitive, the affirmative imperative og the gerund (-ing)
Voy a comprartelo. (I will buy it to you)
Estoy escribiendolo. (I am writing it now.)
3) When the imperative is negative the pronouns precede it in a normal way.
No me lo compres. (Don’t buy it to me)
|Pronombre objeto indirecto|
|usted, él, ella||lo||
|ustedes, ellos, ellas||los||
Cómpralo. – Buy it.
Cómpramelo. – Buy it for/to me.
No lo compres.
No me lo compres.