Car Gar Zar Commands in Spanish: Usted & Tu

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  • 0:04 Commanding Others
  • 0:26 Imperative Commands: ~'Usted~'
  • 1:44 Imperative Commands: ~'Tu~'
  • 2:43 Examples
  • 4:03 Common ~'Car, Gar, Zar~' Verbs
  • 7:47 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angelica Roy

Angelica is an educator and a journalist. She has a master's degree in education, a bachelor's degree in linguistics and languages, and a second major in journalism.

Sometimes you need to tell someone what to do, or maybe what not to do. In this lesson, you will learn how to use verbs ending in -car, -gar, and -zar in imperative commands in the formal and informal forms in Spanish.

Commanding Others

You may not want to be a pushy person, but sometimes you need to tell someone what to do, or even what not to do. Think of giving someone directions or warning them of something unsafe, like not to touch something that's hot. In Spanish, certain verbs change when in the imperative, or command form.

Let's go over verbs that end in -car, -gar, and -zar.

Imperative Commands: Usted

The verbs ending in -car, -gar, and -zar change their usual spelling when you conjugate them in the formal imperative affirmative and negative forms.

The c in -car changes to qu. Examples:

  • empacar (to pack) changes as follows:
    • ¡Empaque la ropa! (Pack the clothes!)
    • ¡No empaque la ropa! (Don't pack the clothes!)
  • sacar (to take out) is changed as follows:
    • ¡Saque el libro! (Take out the book!)
    • ¡No saque el libro! (Don't take out the book!)

The ga in -gar changes to gu. Examples include:

  • cargar (to carry), which changes as follows:
    • ¡Cargue la maleta! (Carry the bag!)
    • ¡No cargue la maleta! (Don't carry the bag!)
  • colgar (to hang) changes as follows:
    • ¡Cuelgue el teléfono! (Hang up the phone!)
    • ¡No cuelgue el teléfono! (Don't hang up the phone!)

The z in -zar changes to c. Examples include:

  • almorzar (to have lunch), which changes as follows:
    • ¡Almuerce! (Have lunch!)
    • ¡No almuerce! (Don't have lunch!)
  • cruzar (to cross) changes as follows:
    • ¡Cruce la calle! (Cross the street!)
    • ¡No cruce la calle! (Don't cross the street!)

Imperative Commands:

The verbs ending in -car, -gar, and -zar do not change their usual spelling when you conjugate them in the informal imperative forms.

  • -car examples include:
    • ¡Empaca la ropa! (Pack the clothes!)
    • ¡Saca el libro! (Take out the book!)
  • -gar examples include:
    • ¡Carga la maleta! (Carry the bag!)
    • ¡Cuelga el teléfono! (Hang up the phone!)
  • -zar examples include:
    • ¡Almuerza! (Have lunch!)
    • ¡Gózalo! (Enjoy!)

However, in the negative form, the spelling does change:

  • -car examples include:
    • ¡No empaques la ropa! (Don't pack the clothes!)
    • ¡No saques el libro! (Don't take out the book!)
  • -gar examples include:
    • ¡No cargues la maleta! (Don't carry the bag!)
    • ¡No cuelgues el teléfono! (Don't hang up the phone!)
  • -zar examples include:
    • ¡No almuerces! (Don't have lunch!)
    • ¡No cruces la calle! (Don't cross the street!)


Juan woke up early to go to school. He immediately heard his mom say, Busca tu maleta y empieza a desayunar ya porque se hace tarde. (Look for your bag and start having breakfast now because it is getting late.) No le pegues a tu hermano. (Do not hit your brother.) Cruza la calle con cuidado, no llegues tarde después de la escuela. (Cross the street carefully, do not arrive late after school.)

When Juan arrived at school, his teacher said, Háganse en grupos y expliquen cómo hicieron la tarea. (Get together in groups and explain how you did your homework.) Indiquen qué proceso utilizaron y fabriquen su plan para el proyecto. (Indicate the process you used and make your plan for the project.) Agreguen todos los materiales que necesiten a esta lista. (Add all of the materials you need to this list.)

Juan hears these commands from the lunch monitor: Muchachos, gocen su tiempo de descanso. Ustedes chicos, no jueguen tan rudo. (Guys, enjoy your break time. You guys, do not play so rude.) Ahora, comiencen a recoger, coloquen las cosas en su lugar. (Now, start picking everything up, put the things in its place.)

Common Car, Gar, Zar Verbs

Here's a list of the most common verbs ending in -car, -gar, and -zar, as well as their imperative forms: formal (usted) and informal ():

Let's first look at -car verbs:

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