The Spanish Imperativo | Give Orders, Advice and Make Requests

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Use imperativo to give advice, give orders and make requests

How can you make a suggestion, give advice or get someone to do something in Spanish? The imperativo, of course! It might not be as straightforward as in English, so studying the conjugations carefully will help you gain confidence with this tricky tense.

When do we use the imperativo?

The imperativo is used to:

  • make suggestions or proposals
  • give orders
  • give advice
  • make requests

Regular Verbs in imperativo:

Regular Verbs

-AR hablar

-ER comer

-IR vivir

Affirmative Negative Affirmative Negative Affirmative Negative
habla no hables come no comas vive no vivas
usted hable no hable coma no coma viva no viva
nosotros/as hablemos no hablemos comamos no comamos vivamos no vivamos
vosotros/as hablad no habléis comed no comáis vivid no viváis
ustedes hablen no hablen coman no coman vivan no vivan


Examples:

  • ¡Tomemos el metro! – Let’s take the metro! (suggestion or proposal)
  • No comáis en clase. – Don’t eat in class. (order)
  • No olvides tu pasaporte. – Don’t forget your passport. (advice)

Irregular Verbs in Imperativo

There are 8 verbs that are completely irregular. It is especially important to note and remember conjugations with the second person, singular – . The following are the conjugations for: tú – usted – nosotros/as – vosotros/as – ustedes in this order.

decir
affirmative: di – diga – digamos – decid – digan
negative: no digas – no diga – no digamos – no digáis – no digan

hacer
affirmative: haz – haga – hagamos – haced – hagan
negative: no hagas – no haga – no hagamos – no hagáis – no hagan

ir
affirmative: ve – vaya – vamos/vayamos – id – vayan
negative: no vayas – no vaya – no vayamos – no vayáis – no vayan

poner
affirmative: pon – ponga – pongamos – poned – pongan
negative: ni pongas – no ponga – no pongamos – no pongáis – no pongan 

salir
affirmative: sal – salga – salgamos – salid – salgan
negative: no salgas – no salga – no salgamos – no salgáis – no salgan

ser
affirmative: sé – sea – seamos – sed – sean
negative: no seas – no sea – no seamos – no seáis – no sean 

tener
affirmative: ten – tenga – tengamos – tened – tengan
negative: no tengas – no tenga – no tengamos – no tengáis – no tengan

venir
affirmative: ven – venga – vengamos – venid – vengan
negative: no vengas – no venga – no vengamos no vengáis – no vengan

It is also important to note that some verbs change their stems, just as in the present tense. For example, in the verb
pensar 
affirmative: piensa – piense – pensemos – pensad – piensen
negative: no pienses – no piense – no pensemos – no penséis – no piensen

The same goes for verbs like pedir (pide), dormir (duerme), sentir (siente).

Reflexive Verbs

For reflexive verbs (ponerse, callarse, lavarse etc.), we add the reflexive pronoun (te, se, nos, os, se) to the end of the verb in the affirmative form. In the negative form, we place the reflexive pronoun before the verb and after the no. Here is a table showing the conjugations for the verb calmarse. Note that when conjugating a reflexive verb with vosotros/as, the d is not included. You say calmaos, not calmados.

affirmative

calmarse

negative
¡Cálmate! calma + te ¡No te calmes!
¡Cálmese! calme + se ¡No te calmes!
¡Calmámonos! calmemos + nos ¡No nos calmemos!
¡Calmaos! calmad + os ¡No os calméis!
¡Cálmense! calman +  se ¡No se calmen!

 

Alternative Form

An easy and correct way to give orders, advice, or make suggestions is to use the “a+infinitive” form.
Example:
¡A callar! – be quiet
¡A caminar! – walk

We hope that reading this has solidified your understanding of the imperativo in Spanish. If you’re interested in taking a Spanish course in the heart of Barcelona, check out our classes.

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