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10.3: The Imperative

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  • Affirmative ‘Tú’ commands



    Informal affirmative commands are used for telling a “tú” person to do something.


    To form an affirmative tú command:  Use the present tense ‘usted/él/ella’ form and say it like a command:

    Hablar: __________________________ en serio, por favor.

    Comer: ___________________________te tus verduras, hijo*. 

    Escribir: __________________________ una frase en español.

    Comprar: __________________________ una pizza para la fiesta.

    Leer: _____________________________ el capítulo siete.

    Seguir (e:i): _______________________ derecho.

    Dar: Papá, _____________________me* diez dólares.

    Acostarse (o:ue): ¡_____________________, ya!**


    Of course, there are some irregular affirmative tú commands.  Some common ones are:

    Decir: ________me* la verdad.

    Hacer:___________ tu tarea.

    Ser: ____________ simpática, mi’ja.

    Poner:____________ la comida en el               refrigerador, por favor.

    Venir:___________ acá.

    Tener:¡___________ cuidado!

    Salir:¡___________ de aquí!

    Ir:____________ al mercado y        cómprame** ocho bananos.


    *Attach pronouns to the end of affirmative commands (they go in front of negative commands).

    “Cómete” is commonly used with food.  Commands are often seen in the reflexive form, even if it is not usually reflexive — it adds a sense of urgency.

    **Add an accent if you add a pronoun and the command form has more than one syllable.




    Negative ‘Tú’ commands

    All formal commands

    All plural commands


    To form  negative ‘tú’ commands, or formal or plural commands:

    1. Start with the yo form of the verb in the present tense.  Leave off the –o ending—this is your building block. Beware of verbs that have irregular yo forms or stem changes in the present, as these will be present in the building block.

    2.   At the end of the building block, add the opposite ending.

    -AR verbs get ‘e’: (es, e, en)

    -ER and –IR verbs get ‘a’: (as, a, an)

    3. Using pronouns: For affirmative commands, attach the pronoun to the end of the command form and add an accent for commands that are longer than one syllable (without the added pronoun).  For negative commands, put any pronouns in front of the command form. 

           Ej: Dígame la verdad. / No me diga nada.

    4. Watch out for CAR-GAR-ZAR’s—they will take spelling changes just like in the preterite.

          Ej: No me toques. /  No lleguen tarde. / Inmovilícele el cuello hasta que llegue la ambulancia.  


    Building block: Yo form               (without the ending)

    Negative tú       command form

    Usted              command form

    Ustedes         command form



     No hables

    (No) hable

    (No) hablen











     Hacer (yo/go)





     Venir (e:ie, yo/go)





      Conocer (yo/zco)





    Tener(e:ie, yo/go)





    Decir(e:ie, yo/go)




















    Empezar (e:ie)





    Mentir (e:ie)





    Dormirse (o:ue)





    Sentirse (e: ie,i)






    Of course, there are some irregulars:

    Dar:       Tú—no des,                 Usted—(No) dé                   Ustedes—(No) den

    Estar:     Tú—no estés               Usted—(No) esté                 Ustedes—(No) estén

    Ir:           Tú—no vayas              Usted—(No) vaya               Ustedes—(No) vayan

    Ser:         Tú—no seas                Usted—(No) sea                  Ustedes—(No) sean

    Saber:     Tú—no sepas              Usted—(No) sepa                Ustedes—(No) sepan


    Actividad 7

    ¡A regañar a los niñosLet’s reprimand the kids!  With a partner, think about common           affirmative and negative commands parents give their child (using the ‘tú’ commands) and teachers give their class (using the ‘ustedes’ commands).  Write at least one negative command per scenario.  When you’re done, pick one to share with the class.   Video


    Mandatos de padres: a hijos




    Mandatos de maestros a alumnos:








    Actividad 8

    El amigo instigador/ la amiga instigadora versus la voz de la razónIn a group of friends, there always seems to be one friend who has all sorts of exciting ideas (or terrible ideas… it’s a fine line!).  There also always seems to be a friend who serves as the voice of reason.  In this scenario, your instigator friend will tell you to do something, and your voice-of-reason friend will tell you not to do it.  You are caught in the middle.  For each activity, write “Yo lo hago” or “Yo no lo hago” to say if you would or would not do it.  If you have time, say why or why not. 


    El/ la instigador/a   La voz de la razón Yo lo hago/ Yo no lo hago

    Sube ese árbol…..

    ¡No lo subas!


    Grita fuego en el cine….

    ¡No lo grites!


    Haz una broma por teléfono….

    ¡No la hagas!


    Cómete la pizza entera….

    ¡No la comas!



    Actividad 9

    La salud y el estilo de vida.  You have just been hired as a staff writer for a Spanish-language health and lifestyle blog and your first task is to write an article titled Cinco maneras de vivir más tiempo.  Using formal commands (an unknown reader should be treated as usted), make five recommendations for living a longer life.  Be prepared to share and discuss your                       recommendations with a partner and the class.   Video


    1. ____________________________________________________________________________



    4. ____________________________________________________________________________










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