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1.7: Grammaire

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    L'introduction à l'impératif

    The imperative, (l'impératif in French) is used to give commands, orders, or express wishes, like 'Stop!', 'Listen!' You may recognize the imperative from commands such as 'Ecoutez' or 'Répétez'. It is one of four moods in the French language. Unlike the other moods, the imperative is not divided into tenses. Keep in mind that the imperative is a very direct way to give an order. It is often replaced with more polite alternatives like the conditional.

    Quelle phrase est plus polie ?

    1. Aidez-moi avec la vaisselle. 2. Pourriez-vous m'aider avec la vaisselle ?


    Phrase 2 (au conditionnel) est plus polie que Phrase 1 (à l'impératif)

    La formation de l'impératif régulier

    There are three forms of the imperative: tu, nous and vous. For all verbs, the imperative is formed by taking the corresponding forms of the present indicative, but without subject pronouns. The lack of a subject pronoun is what identifies the imperative mood.

    The tu form is used to give an order to a child or when the speaker is on familiar terms with the person addressed. The vous form is used to give an order to a group of people or to address one person in the vous form. The nous form is used to give an order that involves oneself as well as others, though it often expresses a suggestion as its translation (Let's ... ) indicates.

    finir 'to finish'
    present imperative translation
    tu finis finis finish (you, familiar)
    nous finissons finissons let's finish
    vous finissez finissez finish
    Transformez ces phrases polies dans des ordres

    1. Est-ce que vous pourriez ouvrir la fenêtre ? 2. Est-ce que tu pourrais venir avec moi ? 3. Est-ce que nous pourrions faire une pause ?


    1. Ouvrez la fenêtre ! 2. Viens avec moi ! 3. Faisons une pause !

    Les verbes en ER et IR (ouvrir)

    Drop the final s in the tu forms of the imperative for -er verbs, including aller, and -ir verbs like ouvrir and other verbs whose present indicative form of tu ends in -es:

    present imperative translation
    tu regardes regarde look
    tu ouvres ouvre open
    tu vas va go

    When these forms are followed by the pronoun y or en, the -s is reattached for pronunciation purposes. For example: Vas-y ! Achètes-en !

    La formation de l'impératif irrégulier

    There are several verbs that have irregular imperative forms.

    avoir être savoir vouloir
    aie sois sache veuille
    ayons soyons sachons veuillons
    ayez soyez sachez veuillez
    L'impératif des verbes pronominaux

    For pronominal verbs, the subject pronoun is dropped and the object pronoun is placed after the verb and is attached with a hyphen. Te becomes toi in this situation.

    se souvenir 'to remember'
    present imperative translation
    tu te souviens souviens-toi remember
    nous nous souvenons souvenons-nous let's remember
    vous vous souvenez souvenez-vous remember
    Les ordres au négatif

    The forms of the affirmative imperative (an order to do something) have been presented in the above charts. In negative commands (an order not to do something), place the ne ... pas around the imperative, as in Ne regarde pas ('Don't look'). In negative commands for reflexive verbs, the object pronoun is placed in front of the verb: Ne te lève pas

    Remplissez les blancs avec les verbes entre parenthèses à l'imperatif

    1. Chers étudiants, .......... bien tous vos devoirs ! (faire). 2. Shasta, .......... prétentieux! (ne pas être). 3. Astérix et Obélix, .......... ,

    vous dormez déjà depuis longtemps ! (se réveiller) 4. Shasta, .......... au stade pour participer au match ! (aller)


    1. faites 2. ne sois pas 3. réveillez-vous 4. va

    Les pronoms compléments d'objet avec l'impératif

    Other non-pronominal pronoun objects follow the same placement as objects of pronominal verbs. As usual, the subject pronoun is dropped. In the negative, the ne precedes the object pronoun and the verb. In the affirmative imperative, the pronoun object follows the verb, and the forms moi and toi replace me and te.

    For example: Aide-moi ! Ne me parle pas ! Fais-le ! Ne le fais pas !

    Traduisez les phrases suivantes. Utilisez la forme informelle tu

    1. Tell me! 2. Open it! 3. Write to her! 4. Don't talk to them!


    1. Dis-moi ! 2. Ouvre-le ! 3. Ecris-lui ! 4. Ne leur parle pas!

    This page is an adoptation of Francais Interactif. For more information, see the following link:

    1.7: Grammaire is shared under a CC BY 2.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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