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The Imperative Mood - Part I



Mouse-over Spanish text fragments in red to see English translation
Usually mistaken with the subjunctive, the imperative mood is mostly used to give direct commands. The imperative mood is also used sometimes to ask for something, to demand something, give instructions or offer something.

Keep always in mind that in the imperative mood, there's no first person singular (yo) and the first person plural (nosotros) is sometimes removed from the conjugation.

Conjugation

Here are four tips to remember the conjugation of the imperative mood.

1. For the "tú" form (second person singular) use the "él/ella/usted" form (third person singular) of the present simple indicative for any group of verbs (-AR, -ER, or -IR)

Present
Indicative
Imperative
Yo como -
comes come
Él/Ella/Usted come coma
Nosotros comemos comamos
Vosotros coméis comed
Ellos/Ustedes comen coman

Examples:

Corre (tú) más despacio o te cansarás muy rápidamente.
Run slower or you will get tired really quickly.

Salta (tú) más alto para alcanzar esa rama del árbol.
Jump higher to reach that tree limb.

2. For the "Él/Ella/Usted" (third person singular) and "Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes" (third person plural) form change the last vowel of the present simple as follows:

Verbs ending in -AR: change -a for -e
Verbs ending in -ER and -IR: change -e for -a
Present
Indicative
Imperative
Yo canto -
cantas canta
Él/Ella/Usted canta cante
Nosotros cantamos cantemos
Vosotros cantáis cantad
Ellos/Ustedes cantan canten


Present
Indicative
Imperative
Yo como -
comes come
Él/Ella/Usted come coma
Nosotros comemos comamos
Vosotros coméis comed
Ellos/Ustedes comen coman


Present
Indicative
Imperative
Yo vivo -
vives vive
Él/Ella/Usted vive viva
Nosotros vivimos vivamos
Vosotros vivís vivid
Ellos/Ustedes viven vivan


Examples:

Canten (ustedes) una canción para todos nosotros.
Sing a song for all of us.

Diles a tus amigos que coman (ellos) más comida o tendré que tirarla.
Tell your friends to eat more food or I'll have to throw it away.

3. For the "nosotros" (first person plural) form, take the same person from the present subjunctive.

Present
Subjunctive
Imperative
Yo hable -
hables habla
Él/Ella/Usted hable hable
Nosotros hablemos hablemos
Vosotros habléis hablad
Ellos/Ustedes hablen hablen

Examples:

Hablemos (nosotros) con los profesores antes de que hablen nuestros padres.
Let's talk with the teachers before our parents do so.

Compremos el nuevo ordenador antes de que se agote en las tiendas.
Let's buy the new omputer before it's sold out in the stores.

4. For the "vosotros" (second person plural) form change the last "-r" in the infinitive for a "-d"

Cantar --> Vosotros cantad
Comer --> Vosotros comed
Vivir --> Vosotros vivid

Examples:

Cantad más alto para que el público de la última fila pueda escucharos.
Sing louder so the audience in the last row can hear you.

Comed más verduras ya que es bueno para vuestra salud.
Eat more vegetables because it's good for your health.

Vivid la vida como si no hubiera mañana.
Live your life as if there was no tomorrow.