Unit 7.2

Affirmative Imperative

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Introduction

The imperative [imperativo] is a grammatical mood used to give orders and commands, make requests or express wishes. There are two types: affirmative and negative.

The affirmative imperative [imperativo afirmativo] is made up of two modes (regular and irregular verbs) and is used to give affirmative commands.

Form

The characteristics of the formation of the affirmative imperative are as follows:

  • when the affirmative imperative appears with CD/CI personal pronouns, these always come after the imperative and together they form one word.

The endings of the affirmative imperative according to the ending of the infinitive verbs are as follows:

  • infinitive verbs ending in -ar: -a, -e, -emos, -ad, -en;
  • infinitive verbs ending in -er: -e, -a, -amos, -ed, -an;
  • infinitive verbs ending in -ir: -e, -a, -id, -amos, -an.

The imperative of regular verbs is formed by adding affirmative imperative endings:

  • the 2nd person singular is formed by removing -s (let’s say that for the imperative of this person we use the 3rd person singular of the present indicative);
  • the 2nd person plural is formed by changing the -r of the infinitive to -d;
  • the 1st person plural and the 3rd person both singular and plural are formed by changing -a- to -e-, or -e- to –a-, in the ending.

These modifications can be seen in the following table:

Persona Hablar (-AR) Comer (-ER) Vivir (-IR)
habla come vive
Él/Ella/Usted* hable coma viva
Nosotros/-as hablemos comamos vivamos
Vosotros/-as hablad comed vivid
Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes* hablen coman vivan

 

Example

  • Habla con tu madre para que sepa por qué no has aprobado;
  • Coma usted verduras, yo prefiero preguntarle al camarero si sirven filete;
  • Vivamos en paz y no cometamos el error de ir a la guerra;
  • Hablad y buscad la solución entre vosotros antes de preguntarme nada;
  • Coman ustedes sin prisa y, mientras, repasaremos la lección.

Use

The imperative is used to:

  • express orders, commands, requests and wishes;
  • give direct instructions: Cruza la calle;
  • maintain communication with lexicalised imperatives that have acquired other meanings: miraoye¿diga?¿dígame?;
  • expressing politeness or respect: perdona/perdone;
  • initiate explanations: Pues mira, cruza la calle…

Summary

The imperative is a grammatical mood used to express orders, commands, requests and wishes. In Spanish, there are two types: affirmative and negative. The affirmative imperative comprises two modes (regular and irregular verbs) and is used to give affirmative commands.

For example:
— «Siéntese, por favor». = The imperative form for the third person singular (usted);
— «Dime por qué quieres trabajar aquí». = The imperative form for the second person singular (tú).

Check the contents of the {Form} section. Then move on to the {Example} section, which shows you the usage in context.

Exercises


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