THE SPANISH COMMAND FORM

Feb 12, 2023 | Spanish Grammar, Level A2, Level B1

THE SPANISH COMMAND FORM (SPANISH IMPERATIVE)

The Spanish language has a rich and complex grammatical system. One important aspect of that system is the command form: THE IMPERATIVE MOOD!

The Spanish imperative is used to give orders or commands to other people and is an essential part of everyday communication in Spanish. In this article, we will explore the command form in-depth, examining its different forms and uses and some common pitfalls to avoid.

let’s start with the basics!

First, it’s essential to understand that the command form is a separate conjugation of verbs in Spanish. In other words, it’s not just the same verb form as the present or past tense. To form the command form, you start with the “tú” form of the verb (the informal singular “you” form) and change it to the command form.

Let’s take a look at some examples to see how this works.

Consider the verb “hablar,” which means “to speak.”

The present tense form of this verb in the “tú” form is “hablas.”

To form the command form, you drop the “-s” and add an accent on the last vowel, giving you “habla.”

This is the affirmative command form, which is used to give orders positively or affirmatively.

For example, you might say “Habla más alto” (“Speak louder”) to someone who is speaking too quietly.

Spanish Imperative: Irregular Verbs Forms

Some irregular verbs don’t follow this pattern exactly. For example, the verb “ir,” which means “to go,” has an irregular command form in the affirmative. Instead of “vas,” which is the “tú” form, the command form is “ve” (with an accent on the “e”). So, you would say “¡Ve a la tienda!” (“Go to the store”) instead of “Vas a la tienda.”

You should know the most common irrgeluar verbs for the Spanish command form and memorize them as well as possible, using complete sentences!

The most common Spanish verbs in the command form

decir -> di ¡Di la verdad! – Say the truth!
hacer -> haz ¡Haz tus tareas! – Do your homework!
ir -> ve ¡Ve a la tienda! – Go to the shop!
poner -> pon ¡Pon la mesa! (Set the table!)
salir -> sal ¡Sal de la casa! (Leave the house!)
ser ->¡Sé amable con los demás! (Be kind to others!)
tener -> ten ¡Ten paciencia! (Be patient!)
venir -> ven ¡Ven aquí! (Come here!)

The negative Spanish command form

In addition to the affirmative command form, there is also a negative command form. To form the negative command form, you start with the “yo” form of the present tense (the first person singular “I” form), drop the “-o,” and add the opposite endings for -ar, -er, and -ir verbs.

For -ar verbs, you add “-es,” and for -er, and -ir verbs, you add “-as.” Then, you add the word “no” before the verb. For example, the negative command form of “hablar” would be “no hables,” and the negative command form of “comer” (to eat) would be “no comas.”

There are some irregular verbs in the negative command form as well. For example, the verb “ser” (to be) has an irregular negative command form. Instead of “soy,” which is the “yo” form of the present tense, the negative command form is “no seas.” So, you would say “No seas tan tímido” (“Don’t be so shy”) instead of “No eres tan tímido.”

Here are some more examples for the negative Spanish command form:

Decir: ¡No digas mentiras! (Don’t tell lies!)

Hacer: ¡No hagas trampa! (Don’t cheat!)

Ir: ¡No vayas allí! (Don’t go there!)

Poner: ¡No pongas los pies en la mesa! (Don’t put your feet on the table!)

Salir: ¡No salgas sin permiso! (Don’t leave without permission!)

Ser: ¡No seas grosero! (Don’t be rude!)

Tener: ¡No tengas prisa! (Don’t be in a hurry!)

Venir: ¡No vengas tarde! (Don’t come late!)

How to use the Spanish command form

So, now that we’ve seen how to form the Spanish imperative let’s look at some common uses for it.

The command form is often used to give instructions or directions, especially in informal situations. For example, if you’re showing a friend around a new city, you might say “Camina por aquí” (“Walk this way”) or “Sigue recto” (“Go straight ahead”).

The command form is also used to give advice or make suggestions. For example, you might say “¡Come más frutas y verduras!” (“Eat more fruits and vegetables!”) or “¡Tómate un descanso!” (“Take a break”).

In addition, the command form can be used to express urgency or emphasis. For example, you might say, “¡Apúrate!” (“Hurry up!”).

Be careful how to use the Spanish command form!

When using the command form, it’s important to remember the context and the relationship between the speaker and the listener.

The command form is typically used in informal situations, such as with friends, family, or children.

In more formal settings, it’s more appropriate to use the subjunctive mood or other indirect forms of expression.

One thing to be careful of when using the command form is that it can come across as bossy or rude if misused. 

¡Tráeme un vaso de agua, gracias!

Bring me a glass of water, please!

To soften the tone of a command, you can use a “por favor” (please) or “gracias” (thank you) at the end of the sentence. For example, “Siéntate, por favor” (“Sit down, please”) or “¡Tráeme un vaso de agua, gracias!” (“Bring me a glass of water, thank you”).

Using the appropriate level of formality in the command form is also essential. For example, if you’re speaking to someone who is much older or in a position of authority, it’s more appropriate to use the “usted” form instead of the “tú” form.

This would change the command form slightly so that you would say “¡Hable más alto!” instead of “Habla más alto.”

Another critical thing to keep in mind is that the command form can change depending on the situation. For example, if you’re giving a command to more than one person, you would use the “ustedes” form instead of the “tú” form. 

In the affirmative command form, you add an “-n” to the end of the verb, so “¡Hablen más alto, por favor!” would be the command form for “speak louder” to a group of people. 

In the negative command form, you add “-n” to the end of the verb and the word “no” before the verb, so “¡No hablen tan fuerte!” would be the negative command form for “Don’t speak so loudly” to a group of people.

Summary: The Spanish command form

In summary, the command form is an essential part of the Spanish language, used to give orders or commands in informal situations. It is a separate conjugation of verbs in Spanish and can be used in both affirmative and negative forms. When using the command form, it’s essential to consider the context and the relationship between the speaker and the listener and use appropriate formality levels. By following these guidelines, you can effectively communicate your intentions and desires using the Spanish command form.

If you are interested in learning more about Spanish grammar, we can recommend the following post on our blog:

EXAMPLES OF THE SUBJUNCTIVE IN SPANISH | 10 USEFUL PHRASES TO SURVIVE

3 ESSENTIAL TIPS TO MASTER THE SPANISH PAST TENSE

FINALLY DISCOVER THE SECRETS TO INDIRECT AND DIRECT OBJECTS IN SPANISH

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