Informal Commands in Spanish: Affirmative & Negative

Informal Commands in Spanish: Affirmative & Negative
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  • 0:01 The Imperative Mood
  • 0:45 Conjugation of…
  • 2:36 Negative Formal Commands
  • 3:10 Direct Object Pronouns…
  • 4:16 Pr?ctica
  • 6:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Pablo Serna

Pablo has taught college Spanish at the University of Missouri and Central Methodist University, and has a master's degree in Spanish literature.

In this lesson, we will learn how to conjugate and use the informal commands in Spanish, including affirmative and negative commands. We will also practice some vocabulary referring to chores and errands.

The Imperative Mood

'Sit up straight and learn this!' Am I too strict? We have commands in Spanish, too. Spanish has three main groups of verbs:

  1. Indicative
  2. Subjunctive
  3. Imperative

The imperative mood refers to commands, used to order someone around or to tell them what to do. In Spanish, there are two forms to talk to you (singular): (familiar) and usted (polite). We also use ustedes (plural). In this lesson, we will talk about a specific conjugation for commands: the informal commands.

Conjugation of Affirmative Commands

To conjugate affirmative informal commands in Spanish we need to use the third person singular form of verbs in the present tense, as in lee, come, baila:

Verb Stem Endings
trabajar trabaj- -a
comer com- -e
vivir viv- -e

Note: irregular or stem-changing verbs carry their irregularity when they are conjugated as informal or formal commands. Also, keep in mind that although the subject pronoun for the informal commands is , it is not necessary when constructing a sentence, as in () come, baila, juega, explora, busca, etc. Let's look at some examples of informal commands:

1. Hablar = habla

2. Leer = lee

3. Servir = sirve

4. Tomar = toma

5. Escoger = escoge

6. Mentir = miente

Some irregular verbs in formal commands that are commonly used are:

  • Decir = di
  • Hacer = haz
  • Ir = ve (same as in ver)
  • Poner = pon
  • Salir = sal
  • Ser =
  • Tener = ten
  • Venir = ven

Negative Informal Commands

For the negative informal commands we follow these steps:

1. Start with the word no.

2. For the command form, use the yo form of the present tense, drop the 'o' and add these endings:

Verb Ending Example
-ar -es no bailes
-er -as no comas
-ir -as no salgas

Direct Object Pronouns & Reflexives

If we have reflexive pronouns or direct and/or indirect object pronouns with commands, we need to do this:

1. Affirmative informal commands: command + indirect obj. pronoun + direct obj. pronoun. They are a single, longer word. Make sure you use accent marks (tildes) to maintain the original emphasis of the command. Examples: díselo (tell it to her), cómpratelo (buy it for you), etc.

2. Negative informal commands: no + indirect obj. pronoun + direct obj. pronoun + command. For the negative commands we have separated words, not a long word as in the affirmative commands. Examples: no se la vendas, no me lo digas, no me toques, no nos lo cuentes.

Práctica

Tomás is woken up by his mom, Sandra, Saturday morning so he can do chores and run errands.

Sandra: ¡Despierta Tomás!

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