Imperative mood
Modo imperativo

The imperative mood expresses commands/requests and advices/recommendations/wishes. In Spanish there are two forms of the imperative mood: affirmative and negative. The former is used when an action should be performed and the latter when an action should not be performed. Pronouns are appended to the verbs in affirmative sentences (often with an accent added to the verb) and come between 'no' and the verb in negative sentences. The exclamation mark is commonly used with the imperative mood to denote urgency or shouting.

Usage
Uso

Commands/Requests
Comandos/Solicitudes

  • ¡Hablen ahora! = Speak now!
    • affirmative, third person, plural, formal
  • ¡Id a casa! = Go home (you all)!
    • affirmative, second person, plural, informal
  • ¡Tráeme más comida! = Bring me more food!
    • affirmative, second person, singular, informal, pronoun appended to verb and accent added
  • ¡No cerremos la puerta! = Let's not close the door!
    • negative, first person, plural, informal
  • ¡No se esconda! = Don't hide yourself!
    • negative, third person, singular, formal, pronoun between 'no' and verb
  • ¡No vengas aquí! = Don't come here!
    • negative, second person, singular, informal

Advice/Recommendations/Wishes
Consejos/Recomendaciones/Deseos

  • Perdóneme. = Pardon me.
    • affirmative, third person, singular, formal, pronoun appended to verb and accent added
  • Salgan si quieren. = Leave if you (all) want.
    • affirmative, third person, plural, formal
  • Ten un día bueno. = Have a good day.
    • affirmative, second person, singular, informal
  • No comamos la torta. = Let's not eat the cake.
    • negative, first person, plural, informal
  • No te vayas mañana. = Don't go tomorrow.
    • negative, second person, singular, informal
  • No visitad la luna. = Don't visit the moon (you all).
    • negative, second person, plural, informal

Alternatives
Alternativas

Notice how the imperative mood shares certain conjugations with the present tense of the subjunctive mood. The distinction between the two can be blurred and in cases when they do not share the conjugation, one can choose either one, when one is advising/recommending/wishing and not strictly commanding/requesting. Using the present tense of the subjunctive mood over the imperative mood can be considered more polite. Consider:

Ten un día bueno.
versus
Que tengas un día bueno.

See section Que (present tense, subjunctive mood) below.

Ir (present tense, indicative mood)

The verb ir is a special case as the affirmative first person plural of the imperative mood (vayamos) has been replaced by the first person plural of the present tense of the indicative mood (vamos) in modern Spanish. Consider:

¡Vayamos ahora!
versus
¡Vamos ahora! = Let's go now!

Present tense, indicative mood

The present tense of the indicative mood is sometimes used instead of the imperative mood to express an action that should be done at the very moment or near future. It may be used to give instructions in steps, particularly to children or inferiors, and may be accompanied by an exclamatory tone for the purpose of scolding. Consider:

¡Ahora vas a la esquina y esperas! = Now you go to the corner and wait!

Future tense, indicative mood

The future tense of the indicative mood is sometimes used instead of the imperative mood to assert a command, prohibition or obligation. Its use implies a great deal of seriousness. Consider:

¡No traerás esta comida en mi auto! = You will not bring this food into my car!

Infinitive

The infinitive verb form is commonly used instead of the imperative mood in signs, instructions and recipes. Its use depersonalises the statement and makes it more formal and polite. Consider:

  • Leer las instrucciones. = Read the instructions.
  • Mezclar los ingredients en un tazón. = Mix the ingredients in a bowl.
  • No batir los huevos. = Do not beat the eggs.
  • No pisar el césped. = No walking on the grass.
  • No fumar. = No smoking.
  • Ver las notas abajo. = See the notes below.

Que (present tense, subjunctive mood)

The conjunction que followed by the present tense of the subjunctive mood is used instead of the imperative mood to give indirect commands through a third party or to convey a hope or a wish. Consider:

  • Que ellos entren ahora. = Let them in now.
  • Que lo hagas. = You do it.
  • Que la llame el secretario. = Have the secretary call her.
  • Que me llamen. = Have them call me.
  • Que no entren ellos ahora. = Don’t let them in now.
  • Que no se ponga Juan los pantalones azules. = Don’t have Juan put on the blue trousers.
  • Que no vea mi niño. = Don't let my child see.
  • Que pase. = Let him/her in.
  • Que tengamos un buen día. = Let's have a good day.
  • Que vengáis a las cuatro. = Come (you all) at four o’clock.

Conjugation
Conjugación

-ar verbs
Verbos -ar

Infinitive: -ar
yo usted nosotros
nosotras
vosotros
vosotras
ustedes
Affirmative: -a -e -emos -ad -en
Negative: -es -éis

-er/-ir verbs
Verbos -er/-ir

Infinitive: -er -ir
yo usted nosotros
nosotras
vosotros
vosotras
ustedes
Affirmative: -e -a -amos -ed -id -an
Negative: -as -áis