Spanish Practice Activity: Reading and Listening to Conversations About Chores

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  • 0:03 Imperative Review
  • 2:31 Informal Commands Practice
  • 4:31 Formal Commands Practice
  • 6:20 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 read and listen to two conversations to practice vocabulary words related to chores and errands in Spanish, which will help improve your listening and reading skills. We will also see a variety of commands, including formal and informal commands.

Imperative Review

The imperative mood, or mode, refers to commands used to tell people what to do. In this lesson, we will practice both informal and formal commands.

In Spanish, there are two forms to talk about you (singular): the informal , used with family members, friends, co-workers with a similar level of authority and little kids; the other one is the formal and more polite usted, and also you (plural), ustedes, are used with people who you don't know very well, the elderly, bosses and other authority figures, like teachers.

To conjugate affirmative informal commands in Spanish, we need to use the third person singular form of the verbs in the present tense, as in saca, come and lava. 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

To conjugate affirmative formal commands in Spanish we do this:

1. Use the yo form of verbs in the present tense (simple present), as in como, bebo, hablo.

2. Get rid of the ending 'o' and replace it with these endings:

Verb Endings
-ar -e (usted), -en (ustedes)
-er -a (usted), -an (ustedes)
- ir -a (usted), -an (ustedes)

The negative formal commands have the same conjugations, but you add the word no before the verb, and that's it!

1. No lave, no saque, no quite, no pase

2. No coman, no duerman, no vivan, no trabajen

Informal Commands Practice

You are in charge of your younger brother and cleaning the house today while your parents run some errands.

Papá: Vamos a lavar el carro (car), a cortar (cut) el pelo del perro (dog), e ir de compras (go shopping). Limpia (clean) la casa (house) hoy y dile a tu hermano que ayude.

: Bueno papá, hasta luego. Manuel (hermano), limpia todo y yo voy a mirar.

Manuel: No me digas qué hacer.

: Ok, ok, compartimos el trabajo. Yo limpio (clean) la cocina. Haz las camas (make the beds), pasa la aspiradora (vacuum) y quita el polvo (dust).

Manuel: No, no, no. Tú tienes un trabajo y yo tengo tres.

: Para limpiar la cocina, necesito lavar los platos sucios (wash the dirty dishes), limpiar la mesa y sacar la basura (take the trash out).

Manuel: Ah bueno. Voy a arreglar los dormitorios (pick up the bedrooms) también. Lava la ropa (wash the clothes).

: ¡Cállate! (be quiet). No me digas qué hacer.

Manuel: ¡Obedece! (obey)

: ¡JA!

Now, let's practice informal commands:

1. How would you tell Manuel to clean the bathroom (lavar el baño)?

  • Lava el baño.

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