Giving Commands in Spanish is done through the Imperative Mood. With it, we tell people to do or not to do something.
There are several types of commands in Spanish: affirmative and negative, formal and informal… The Spanish learner needs to know what is the right verb form for each type of command.
In this lesson, 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.
In this grammar lesson, we will go through the following points:
1. Spanish Affirmative Informal Commands: Forms
First we will learn the verb forms we use to give Affirmative Informal Commands.
We need to make an important distinction between the “tú” and the “vosotros” commands (in other words, the commands to just one person or to several people). And that distinction is:
- Affirmative “tú” commands can be regular or irregular
- Affirmative “vosotros” commands are ALL regular
Let’s see them in detail:
Regular Affirmative “tú” commands
Most verbs are regular when forming their affirmative “tú” commands.
For regular verbs, the affirmative “tú” command is identical to the third person singular of the Present Tense, as shown in the following table:
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
Example sentences of regular affirmative “tú” commands:
Compra la comida, no queda nada en el frigorífico.
Buy the food, there’s nothing left in the fridge.
Juega conmigo a las cartas.
Play cads with me.
Cierra las ventanas.
Close the windows.
Pide una cerveza para mí, tengo sed.
Order a beer for me, I’m thirsty.
Irregular Affirmative “tú” commands
Not all verbs have regular affirmative “tú” commands. Here is a list of the most important verbs which present irregular affirmative “tú” commands:
Verb Affirmative "tú" command ser sé ir ve tener ten venir ven hacer haz decir di poner pon salir sal
Example sentences of irregular affirmative “tú” commands:
Pon la mesa.
Set the table.
Ven aquí, por favor.
Come here, please.
Di la verdad.
Tell the truth.
Sal de tu habitación y haz algo.
Get out of your room and do something.
Affirmative “vosotros” commands – They are ALL regular!
Affirmative “vosotros” commands are regular for ALL verbs, even the ones that have irregular “tú” commands.
They are formed by taking the infinitive form of the verb and replacing the final “r” with a “d”, as shown in the following table:
Verb Affirmative "vosotros" command comer comed hablar hablad cerrar cerrad dormir dormid hacer haced decir decid poner poned salir salid
Example Sentences of affirmative “vosotros” commands:
Eat pasta (you guys)
Abrid la puerta.
Open the door (you guys).
Haced vuestras camas.
Make your beds (you guys).
Have patience (you guys).
Decid lo que pensáis.
Say what you think (you guys).
2. Placement of pronouns like “me, te, lo, la…” with Commands in Spanish
If we want to include Reflexive, Direct Object or Indirect Object Pronouns such as “me, te, lo, la, los, las, nos, os, se…” with a command, we must place them attached at the end of the affirmative command forms.
If we need to include not one, but two of these pronouns, they are still attached at the end of the verb, one after another.
Examples of commands with pronouns:
Put it here.
Give it to me.
Call us soon.
Buy it to me
Call us (you guys).
Use it (you guys).
Buy it to me (you guys).
Special case – Attaching “os” to a “vosotros” command
If we give a command to “vosotros” and we attach the reflexive pronoun “os” at the end, the verb form loses its final “d”.
This can happen when are are using Reflexive Verbs, such as “ducharse”, “levantarse”, “concentrarse”…
Duchaos, por favor.
Shower (you guys). – Not “
duchados”, because the verb form loses the final “d”.
Get up (you guys) – Not “
Concentrate (you guys) – Not “
About Accent Marks when attaching Pronouns
Read the sentences above one more time. Notice the accent marks on some of the commands when pronouns are attached. This is how it works:
– “Tú” commands often get a an accent mark when attaching pronouns to them, specially when the resulting word is rather long. The accent mark is on the 3rd or 4th vowel (counting from right to left).
– “Vosotros” commands get an accent mark when (and only when) there are two pronouns attached. It must be on the 3rd vowel (counting from right to left)
3. Practice: A Quiz about Commands in Spanish
Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about Affirmative Informal Commands:
4. Practice: An Exercise
This mother gives his child Juanito many commands during the day. She’s just like my ex-wife. Fill the gaps in your mind or on a piece of paper using Affirmative Informal “tú” commands. Then check the solutions at the end of this post.
7:15 – Juanito, _____ 1.(levantarse), ¡vas a llegar tarde al cole!
7:30 – Juanito, _____ 2.(hacer) tu cama.
8:00 – Juanito, _____ 3.(ducharse).
8:30 – Juanito, _____ 4.(preparar) tu mochila y _____ 5.(irse) al cole.
15:00 – Juanito, _____ 6. (decirme) qué has habéis hecho hoy en clase.
17:00 – Juanito, ¿has hecho las tareas? ¡_____ 7.(hacerlas) ya!
18:30 – Juanito, por favor, _____ 8.(venir) y _____ 9.(ayudarme) a limpiar la cocina.
21:00 – Juanito, _____ 10.(acostarse), que ya es tarde.
Solutions to the Exercise: 1 = levántate, 2 = haz, 3 = dúchate, 4 = prepara, 5 = vete, 6 = dime, 7 = hazlas, 8 = ven, 9 = ayúdame, 10 = acuéstate.