Imperative Mood in Spanish – All Formal Commands, and Negative Informal Commands

The Imperative mood is used to give commands or orders. With it, we tell people to do something.


There are many types of commands: affirmative and negative commands, formal and informal…


If you want to learn about Affirmative Informal commands, click here.




In this post, we will talk about all formal commands, plus the negative informal commands.





Forms: All based on the Present Subjunctive

There is a reason we have grouped together all commands except the affirmative informal ones.

The reason is, all commands, except the affirmative informal ones, use forms taken from another tense: The Present Subjunctive. (Click here if you need to review the Present Subjunctive)

Depending on the kind of command we want to give, we need to select a form of the verb’s conjugation in Present Subjunctive, following this logic:

  • Negative informal commands to one person «tú» form
  • Negative informal commands to several people   «vosotros» form
  • Formal commands to one person «él» form
  • Formal commands to several people «ellos» form


Example: Verb “hablar”

Conjugation of “hablar” in Present Subjunctive:

 Hablar
yohable
hables
élhable
nosotroshablemos
vosotroshabléis
elloshablen

Looking at that conjugation, we can now give the different types of commands:


Negative informal commands to one person → «tú» form

No hables conmigo. = Don’t talk to me.


Negative informal commands to several people →  «vosotros» form

No habléis tan alto. = Don’t talk so loud


Formal commands to one person → «él» form

Hable con la secretaria. = Talk to the secretary

No hable con la jefa. = Don’t talk to the boss

Formal commands to several people «ellos» form

Hablen más despacio, por favor. = Please talk slower

No hablen durante el examen = Don’t talk during the exam


Example: Verb “ir”

Conjugation of “ir” in Present Subjunctive:

 Ir
yovaya
vayas
élvaya
nosotrosvayamos
vosotrosvayáis
ellosvayan

Looking at that conjugation, we can now give the different types of commands:


Negative informal commands to one person → «tú» form

No vayas a ese bar. = Don’t go to that bar.


Negative informal commands to several people → «vosotros» form

No vayáis tan lejos. = Don’t go so far.


Formal commands to one person → «él» form

Vaya al médico. = Go to the doctor.

No vaya al curandero. = Don’t go to the healer.


Formal commands to several people → «ellos» form

Vayan a la estación. = Go to the station.

No vayan a la playa hoy. = Don’t go to the beach today.




Placement of pronouns like “me, te, lo, la…”

For the Placement of Direct and Indirect Object as well as Reflexive Pronouns in Imperative, we decide depending on the command being affirmative or negative:


If the command is affirmative, the pronoun(s) will be attached at the end of the verb

Note: In almost all cases, when we attach one or more personal pronouns at the end, the resulting word will have an Accent Mark on the vowel that sounds stressed:

Cómprelo = Buy it.

Dúchense = Take a shower.

Dígamelo = Tell it to me. (in this case, two pronouns attached one after another)


If the command is negative, the pronoun(s) will go right before the verb, written separately

No se acueste todavía = Don’t go to bed yet.

No lo tengan en cuenta = Don’t take it into account

No me lo mandes = Don’t send it to me.  (in this case, two pronouns)