How to Use the Imperative in Spanish | Newsdle
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How to Use the Imperative in Spanish

16/03/22

The imperative in Spanish is a verb form used to give commands or instructions, or to ask for advice or favors. It can also be used to prohibit actions. The imperative, el imperativo, is referred to as a mood rather than a tense. This is because it’s used to express a want or desire at a particular moment in time.

It’s imperative that we understand how to understand and form the imperative mood in
Spanish, so here’s our lowdown on its uses!

Tip: most conjugations for the imperative you will already be familiar with, so there’s no need to learn a whole heap of new conjugations.

Usted/tú in the imperative in Spanish

Spanish has a formal and informal way of addressing people – usted and tú. It’s important to take this into account when forming the imperative in Spanish so you don’t get caught out. It’s worth noting that there are also more polite ways than the imperative of asking (or telling) somebody to do something in Spanish.

When to use the imperative in Spanish

To give orders

When we tell someone to do something in Spanish, we use the imperative form.

¡Ven a mi oficina!

Come to my office!

¡Llévanos a la plaza!

Drive us to the plaza!

To make suggestions or proposals

In addition to giving orders, the imperative in Spanish can also be used to offer an invitation or give a suggestion.

Estudia español, te ayudará a conocer gente interesante de diferentes países.

Study Spanish, it’ll help you to meet interesting people from different countries.

Tomemos una cerveza.

Let’s have a beer.

To give advice

You can use the imperative to offer advice in Spanish.

Ponganles el gorro rojo, te queda muy bien.

Wear the red cap, it suits you well.

Si tienes dinero, pide un taxi.

If you have money, order a taxi.

To make requests

You can also use the imperative form to make requests in Spanish.

Disculpe, ¿puedo entrar?

Excuse me, can I enter?

¿Podría explicarmelo, por favor?

Could you please explain it to me?

Conjugations for the imperative in Spanish

Regular verbs

Affirmative Form

Hablar (-ar verbs)

Comer (-er verbs)

Vivir (-ir verbs)

Habla

Come

Vive

Nosotros

Hablemos

Comamos

Vivamos

Usted

Hable

Coma

Viva

Ustedes

Hablen

Coman

Vivan

       

Negative Form

Hablar (-ar verbs)

Comer (-er verbs)

Vivir (-ir verbs)

No hables

No comas

No vivas

Nosotros

No hablemos

No comamos

No vivamos

Usted

No hable

No coma

No viva

Ustedes

No hablen

No coman

No vivan

As always, watch out for the irregulars!

Verbs that don’t end in -o in their yo present form are irregulars in the imperative. Some examples of irregular imperative in Spanish (there are more!):

Ser =

Estar = estate           

Ir = ve                         

Venir = ven                  

Hacer = haz

Tener = ten

How about with pronouns?

  • If the command is affirmative, the pronoun goes after the verb. E.g. Dámelo (give it to me).
  • If the command is negative, the pronoun goes before the word and separate to it. E.g. No le hables así (don’t speak to him like that).
  • When it comes to reflexive verbs (ending in -se), remove the “-d” from the vosotros form and the “-s” from the nosotros form. E.g. Vayámonos (not vayámosnos).

We hope this guide has helped you make sense of the imperative in Spanish! Check our latest lessons to see if you can find instances of it in action.

Have you mastered the genders in Spanish yet? Check back soon for more language learning blog content at Newsdle!

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