The Imperative mood is the mood we use to give commands or orders. In other words, to tell people to do something.
This is an extensive grammar topic because there are many types: positive and negative commands, formal and informal…
In this post, we will talk specifically about affirmative informal commands. That means, how we tell the persons “tú” (singular you) and “vosotros” (plural you) to do something.
If you need to learn other types of commands, click here.
We will go through the following points:
- Regular Affirmative “tú” commands
- Irregular Affirmative “tú commands
- Affirmative “vosotros” commands – They are all regular!
- Placement of pronouns like “me, te, lo, la…”
1. Regular Affirmative “tú” commands
Good news: the great majority of verbs are regular for affirmative “tú” commands.
We just need to think of the verb in Present Tense, and take the form for the third person singular. This form will be exactly the same we use. Easy!:
Verb Present Tense, 3rd Person Singular Affirmative "tú" command
comer come come
trabajar trabaja trabaja
vivir vive vive
cerrar cierra cierra
dormir duerme duerme
pedir pide pide
Compra la comida! = Buy the food
Juega conmigo = Play with me
Bebe menos = Drink less
Cierra las ventanas = close the windows
2. Irregular Affirmative “tú commands
Here is a list of the eight verbs which have irregular affirmative “tú” commands, which don’t follow the rule we saw in point 1.
Verb Affirmative "tú" command
Pon la mesa = Set the table
Ven aquí = Come here
Sal de tu habitación = Get out of your room
3. Affirmative “vosotros” commands – They are all regular!
This will sound like music to your ears: yes, all affirmative “vosotros” commands are regular, and are built taking the infinitive of the verb and replacing the final “r” with a “d”.
It doesn’t matter at all whether the verb was regular or irregular for the “tú” commands: for “vosotros”, they are all regular.
Here is a list with some examples: Notice that the last verbs included were irregular for the “tú” commands, but it doesn’t matter here!
Verb Affirmative "vosotros" command
Abrid la puerta = Open the door (you guys)
Haced vuestras camas = Make your beds (you guys)
Tened paciencia = Have patience (you guys)
4. Placement of pronouns like “me, te, lo, la…”
Pronouns such as “me, te, lo, la, los, las, nos, os, se…” are placed attached at the end of the positive command forms. Even if you have two of these pronouns, they will be attached one after the other, at the end of the verb.
Ponlo aquí = Put it here.
Dámela = Give it to me.
Llámanos pronto = Call us soon.
Cómpramelo = Buy it to me
Llamadnos = Call us (you guys)
Usadlo = Use it (you guys)
Comprádmela = Buy it to me (you guys)
Graphical accents when attaching pronouns
If you look at the example sentences when attaching pronouns, you will notice that they often have a graphical accent somewhere. We are not going to go into full detail, but in general:
– “Tú” commands will often get a graphical accent when adding pronouns, specially when the resulting word is rather long. The accent will be above the third or fourth vowel (counting from right to left).
– “Vosotros” commands will get a graphical accent when (and only when) there are two pronouns attached. And it will go above the third vowel (counting from right to left)
The special case of “Vosotros” reflexive commands (adding “os”)
If you give a command to “vosotros” using a reflexive verb (and thus, attaching the pronoun “os” at the end), the verb loses its final “d”. Examples:
Duchaos = Shower (you guys). – Instead of “duchados”, which would be wrong. It loses the “d”.
Levantaos = Get up (you guys) – Not “levantados”. Again, loses the “d”