Command forms, also known as the imperative mood, are used to tell people what to do or not to do. By know, you already know the difference between tú and usted. That same difference will apply when you are using commands. There is a way to be informal, tú commands, and formal, usted commands. Before you get started, you may want to make sure you are familiar with irregular present indicative tense verbs.
In order to form the commands start with the first person indicative, or yo form of the verb. Take off the “o” and place the new command form endings. If the verb is an -ar verb, the new ending will be -e. If the verb ends in an -er or -ir, the new ending will be -a. Also, if the verb is irregular in the present tense, that same irregularity will carry over to the command form of the verb.
Think “yo”, drop the “o”, opposite ending.
Here are a few examples:
poner → pongo → pong- → ponga
Ponga usted su maleta allí, por favor. → Put your suitcase over there, please.
comer → como → com- → coma
Por favor, no coma ese pan. Coma este, → Please, don’t eat that bread. Eat this(bread).
escribir → escribo → escrib- → escriba
Escriba su nombre aquí. → Write your name here.
hablar → hablo → habl- → hable
Hable conmigo, por favor. → Speak with me, please.
Irregular command forms
There are several verbs that are irregular in the command form.
ser → sea
ver → vea
dar → dé
ir → vaya
estar → esté
saber → sepa
These commands are used for telling groups of people what to do. They are formed the same way as usted commands, except that you add an -n to the end of the verb.
poner → pongan
comer → coman
escribir → escriban
hablar → hablen
These commands are what you would use to get a group that you are in to do something. It the essentially like saying “Let’s _____”. The conjugation is the same as the formal commands, except that you add -mos to the ending.
poner → pongamos
Pongamos la mesa. → Let’s set the table.
comer → comamos
Comamos unos tacos. → Let’s eat some tacos.
escribir → escribamos
Escribamos una carta. → Let’s write a letter.
hablar → hablemos
Hablemos un rato. → Let’s talk for a while.
Informal Commands (Tú commands)
Informal commands are little bit trickier. The easy part is the negative commands. The negative tú commands are essentially the same as formal commands, except that you add an “s” to the end of the command..
No pongas la mesa. → Don’t set the table.
No vayas al parque. → Don’t go to the park.
No hables. → Don’t talk.
For affirmative commands, you will use the third person singular (él, ella, Usted) form of the verb in present indicative tense to form your command. These will be different from the rest of the commands.
hablar → habla
escribir → escribe
leer → lee
Irregular informal commands
There are a few irregular informal commands and they will essentially just be the first syllable of the verb.
|decir||to say||→ di|
|salir||to go out||→sal|
|valer||to be worth||→val|
Be sure to check out how to use pronouns with commands!
The last type of command form is called an indirect command. It is generally expressed using the subjunctive form (which is the same as the rest of the command forms with the exception of the positive tú commands). The commands start with que.
Que hable él. → Let (have) him speak.
Que digan la historia. → Let them tell the story.
Que sean contentos. → Let them (May they) be happy.
Que lo haga mi hermano. → Let (Have) my brother do it.