Imperative

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The Imperative mood is the mood of explicit commands; that is, telling someone directly to do something (a "positive" imperative) or not to do something (a "negative" imperative). Spanish has imperatives that correspond to the subject pronouns , vos, vosotros/vosotras, usted, ustedes and nosotros/nosotras.

Positive and negative imperatives obey different rules regarding the position of object pronouns and how to write them. In positive imperatives all object pronouns follow the verb, and the verb and its object pronouns are written together as if they were one word. In negative imperatives all object pronouns precede the verb and they are written as independent words.

Imperative examples
Subjecthablarcomersubirsentarsevendérselo
hablacomesubesiéntatevéndeselo
no hablesno comasno subasno te sientesno se lo vendas
vos (See note)hablácomésubísentatevendéselo
no hablésno comásno subásno te sentésno se lo vendás
vosotros, vosotrashabladcomedsubidsentaosvendédselo
no habléisno comáisno subáisno os sentéisno se lo vendáis
ustedhablecomasubasiéntesevéndaselo
no hableno comano subano se sienteno se lo venda
ustedeshablencomansubansiéntensevéndanselo
no hablenno comanno subanno se sientenno se lo vendan
nosotros, nosotrashablemoscomamossubamossentémonosvendámoselo
no hablemosno comamosno subamosno nos sentemosno se lo vendamos

Note: Vos verb forms vary regionally. This chart shows the usual endings in Argentina.

Spanish has unique positive imperative verb forms for the 2nd person informal subjects , vos and vosotros/vosotras. The negative imperative verb forms for the 2nd person informal subjects and all imperative verb forms for for the formal subjects usted and ustedes are identical to the corresponding present subjunctive verb forms.

The positive imperative verb form for for most verbs is identical to the 3rd-person singular present indicative verb form. Eight verbs have irregular positive imperative forms for , and some, but not all, compounds of these forms share the same irregularity. These verbs are:

  • decir: di
  • hacer: haz
  • ir: ve
  • poner: pon
  • salir: sal
  • ser: sé
  • tener: ten
  • venir: ven

The positive imperative verb form for vosotros/vosotras for all verbs is always the infinitive with the final 'r' changed to 'd'. There are no exceptions. However, when the reflexive object pronoun 'os' follows the verb form, the final 'd' is not written and not pronounced, as in sentaos (three syllables, sen-tá-os).

In some areas where the pronoun vos is often used, especially Argentina and parts of Central America, the positive imperative for vos is identical to the infinitive with the final 'r' removed; the tonic accent is always on the last syllable of the verb form. In these areas there is only one exception: the expected imperative verb forms for ir/irte are í/íte, but no one uses these forms; instead most voseo speakers say andá/andate and some say ve/vete. The other 7 verbs that have irregular positive imperatives for have regular positive imperatives for vos:

  • decir: decí
  • hacer: hacé
  • poner: poné
  • salir: salí
  • ser: sé
  • tener: tené
  • venir: vení

See also

Conjugation