Friday, January 19, 2007

Commands/Imperative Tense

The imperative tense, also known as a command, is the equivalent of “telling someone to do something”. Although a command sounds like very strong language, it is actually quite common to use the imperative tense.

  • A polite way to command someone to do something is to “ask someone to do something”.
  • Another way to be extra polite is to add the word please.

Tip Remember this tense by thinking “it is imperative that you do something”.

For example. . .

Imagine yourself at the dinner table . . .

Your family is seated . . .

And your mom wants the butter . . .


Mother: Hey, will you pass the butter please?

Ok, here you go mom!


Mother: Pass the butter please. (It is imperative that you pass the butter)

Ok, here you go mom!

So as you see from the example, commands happen all the time. It's just like saying:


“Go ahead and buy the tickets.” 2nd person singular

“Give me the remote control.”
2nd person singular

“Let's go to the movies.”
1st person plural

“Hey y'all, go ahead without me, I'll catch up.”
2nd person plural


“Don't do that” 2nd person singular

“Let's not eat out tonight”
1st person plural

“Hey guys, don't take that road to the game”
2nd person plural

and so on and so forth . . .

As you see from the above example, commands can be both positive and negative and be in the
1st person plural (we), 2nd person singular (you), and the 2nd person plural (you, you all, y'all).

In Spanish, they can also be
informal, or familiar, and formal.

Familiar Commands

This is like telling your friend or family member to do something (positive) or not to do something (negative).


Tú ---> 2nd Person Singular

  • Use the exact form as the third-person singular conjugation (Él, Ella, Ud.) in the present tense.

  • Él, Ella, Ud. Habla --------> He, she, you speak(s)
    • Tú habla --------------> You Talk, Go talk
      • (Tú) Habla con el Maestro -> (You) go speak with the teacher


  • This is the same with all AR, ER, and IR verbs


  • Él, Ella, Ud. cierra -----------------> He, She, You closes
    • Tú cierra -----------------> You close
      • (Tú) Cierra la puerta ---> (You) close the door


  • Él, Ella, Ud. come ------------------> He, She, You eat/eats
    • Tú come ------------------> You eat
      • (Tú) Come las enchiladas -----> (You) Eat the enchiladas


  • Él, Ella, Ud. Abre ----------> He, She, You, open/opens
    • Tú abre ----------> You open
      • Abre la puerta -----> (You) Open the door.

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