Imperative Commands in Spanish Grammar

Introduction

The Imperative (imperativo), also imperative commands, express demands, orders and requests addressed to one or more people directly. There are different conjugations for the , usted, ustedes, nosotros and vosotros forms.

Learn about imperative commands in Spanish grammar with Lingolia’a grammar rules. Master the conjugation of all verb types and forms then test your grammar skills in the exercises.

Example

Pasajero: Paremos un taxi. ¡Taxi!

Conductor: ¡Subid!

Pasajero: ¡Llévanos a la estación!

Conductor: Abrochaos los cinturones.

Pasajero: ¡Listo, vámonos! Pero no conduzcas rápido, por favor.

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Usage

We use the imperative to order someone to do something.

Example:
¡Paremos un taxi!Let’s stop a taxi!
¡Subid!Get in!
¡Llévanos a la estación!Drive us to the station!

Conjugation of the Imperative in Spanish Grammar

2nd person singular (tú)

To conjugate imperative commands in the 2nd person singular (tu) we use the 3rd person singular form of the present indicative. However, to form a negative imperative, we use the 2nd person singular form of the present subjunctive. The pronoun is not used.

positive form
indicative (3rd person singular)
negative form
subjunctive (2nd person singular)
hablar ¡Habla!Speak! ¡No hables!
aprender ¡Aprende!Learn! ¡No aprendas!
escribir ¡Escribe!Write! ¡No escribas!

Irregular imperative forms in the 2nd person singular

infinitive imperative translation
decir di Say!
hacer haz Do/Make ...!
ir ve Go!
poner pon Put ...!
salir sal Go out!
ser Be ...!
tener ten Take!
venir ven Come!

2nd person plural (vosotros/vosotras)

To conjugate the positive imperative for the 2nd person plural (vosotros) we take the infinitive and replace the -r with a -d. In the negative form, we take the 2nd person plural form of the present subjunctive, omitting the pronoun.

positive form
replace infinitive-r with d
negative form
subjunctive (2nd person plural)
hablar ¡Hablad!Speak! ¡No habléis!
aprender ¡Aprended!Learn! ¡No aprendáis!
escribir ¡Escribid!Write! ¡No escribáis!

3rd person singular (usted)

To conjugate the imperative in the polite form (usted), we use the 3rd person form of the present for both the positive and negative form, omitting the pronoun.

positive form
subjunctive (3rd person singular)
negative form
subjunctive (3rd person singular)
hablar ¡Hable!Speak! ¡No hable!
aprender ¡Aprenda!Learn! ¡No aprenda!
escribir ¡Escriba!Write! ¡No escriba!

3rd person plural (ustedes)

To conjugate an imperative in the polite form in plural, we use the 3rd person plural in the subjunctive, omitting the pronoun.

positive form
subjunctive (3rd person plural)
negative form
subjunctive (3rd person plural)
hablar ¡Hablen!Speak! ¡No hablen!
aprender ¡Aprendan!Learn! ¡No aprendan!
escribir ¡Escriban!Write! ¡No escriban!

1st person plural (nosotros/nosotras)

To conjugate the imperative in the 1st person plural (nosotros) we use the 1st person plural form of the present subjunctive for both the positive and negative form, omitting the pronoun.

positive form
subjunctive (1st person plural)
negative form
subjunctive (1st person plural)
hablar ¡Hablemos!Let’s speak! ¡No hablemos!
aprender ¡Aprendamos!Let’s learn! ¡No aprendamos!
escribir ¡Escribamos!Let’s write! ¡No escribamos!

Reflexive Verbs

In the positive form, the reflexive pronoun (and also the object pronoun) is attached to the verb. The -s is omitted in the 1st person plural, and the -d in the 2nd person plural. For negative imperatives, however, the pronouns are placed before the imperative.

positive form negative form
¡Abróchate!Fasten up!/¡Abróchatelo!Fasten it (the safety belt) up! ← abrocha + te (+ lo) → ¡No te (lo) abroches!Don’t fasten it up!
¡Abróchese!/¡Abróchaselo!Fasten (it) up! (polite form, singular) ← abroche + se (+ lo) → ¡No se (lo) abroche!Don’t fasten (it) up!
¡Abrochémonos!/¡Abrochémonoslo!Let’s fasten (it) up! ← abrochemos+ nos (+ lo) → ¡No nos (lo) abrochemos!Let’s not fasten (it) up!
¡Abrochaos!Fasten up!/¡Abrocháoslo!Fasten it up! ← abrochad + os (+ lo) → ¡No os (lo) abrochéis!Don’t fasten (it) up!
¡Abróchense!Fasten up! (polite form, singular)/¡Abróchenselo!Fasten it up! ← abrochen + se (+ lo) → ¡No se (lo) abrochen!Don’t fasten (it) up!

To Note

The verb irse is an exception. It is conjugated as follows:

Example:
id + os = ¡Idos!

Alternative Forms

The form a + infinitive , can replace the imperative in the 2nd person singular and plural:

Example:
¡A callar!Be quiet!
¡A correr!Run!