Spanish Grammar: Formal Commands

Spanish Grammar: Formal Commands

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Identify:

Spanish Grammar: Formal Commands
la gramática española: los imperativos formales

  • Imperatives are also known as command forms.
  • Use formal imperatives to ask people to do things in the usted form.

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It is important to not only be able to understand commands but also to be able to use them correctly. Imperatives are words that are used to ask or tell a person to do something. If you want to be able to tell someone how or what do to or to understand if someone tells you to do something in Spanish, you will need to understand Imperatives. Imperatives are used in many different situations.

By now, you are aware that Spanish uses two styles of speech: formal and informal. There are two types of commands in Spanish – Formal Commands and Informal Commands.

Regular formal commands (used like we use usted) have one form for both the affirmative and negative.

Start with the  yo form of the verb, drop the ‘o’, for –AR verbs, add –e, for –ER and –IR verbs, add –a.
(Remember to use the spelling changes!)

hablar -> hablo -> habl*
¡Hable!

leer -> leo -> le*
¡Lea!

escribir -> escribo -> escrib*
¡Escriba!

tener -> tengo -> teng*
¡Tenga!

poner -> pongo -> pong*
¡Ponga!

There are only three irregular usted/formal singular commands:

ir : ¡Vaya!
Go!

saber : ¡Sepa!
Know!

ser : ¡Sea!
Be!

Ustedes or formal plural commands are almost the same as the usted commands. Start with the  yo form of the verb, drop the ‘o’, for –AR verbs, add –en, for –ER and –IR verbs, add –an. (Remember to use the spelling changes!)

hablar -> hablo -> habl*
¡Hablen!

leer -> leo -> le*
¡Lean!

escribir -> escribo -> escrib*
¡Escriban!

tener -> tengo -> teng*
¡Tengan!

poner -> pongo -> pong*
¡Pongan!

Commands can use an inverted exclamation point at the beginning of the command and an upright exclamation point at the end of the sentence.

To tell one person you don’t know well to do something:

¡Espere a tu hermano!
Wait for your brother!

Tell tell one person you don’t know not to do something:

¡No escriba en su libro!
Don’t write in your book!

To tell a group of people you don’t know to do something:

¡Hablen de otra cosa!
Talk about something else!

To tell a group of people you don’t know NOT to do something:

¡No comen!
Don’t eat!

Adapt:

¡Abran las ventanas!
Open the windows!

Cierran las ventanas, está lloviendo!
Close the windows, it’s raining!

Coma las espinacas!
Eat your spinach!

¡Comience la terea!
Start the homework!

¡Vaya a la fiesta!
Go to the party!

¡No salgan temprano!
Don’t leave early!

¡Lea el libro!
Read the book!

¡Estudian!
Study!

¡Corren, los zombies!
Run, zombies!

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