To give a command in Spanish, you must first decide whether you wish to use an informal (tú) or formal (usted) command. In this lesson we will focus on informal commands since they are considered to be friendlier.
Secondly, you must be aware of whether you are giving a positive or negative command since each has a different conjugation.
Catch (positive) = ¡Agarra!
Don’t Catch (negative) = ¡No agarres!
Conjugating a positive informal command is very easy. The conjugation is the same as the present tense usted form of the verb. (Yes, the tú command uses an usted conjugation!) Here are some examples > Positive Informal Commands Verb Positive Informal Command Tomar ¡Toma! Traer ¡Trae! Hablar ¡Habla! Tirar ¡Tira! Beber ¡Bebe! Vivir ¡Vive!
Conjugating a negative informal command is a little more complicated. Here are the steps; Negative Informal Commands
Here are some examples; Notice that any stem changes or spelling changes in the yo form remain in the command form. Verb Yo form minus the “O” Negative Informal Command Tomar Tom- ¡No tomes! Traer Traig- ¡No traigas! Hablar Habl- ¡No hables! Contar Cuent- ¡No cuentes! Beber Beb- ¡No bebas! Conocer Conozc- ¡No conozcas!
Command forms are often used with object pronouns like “it”, or “her”. How you deal with these pronouns depends on whether you are giving a positive or negative command. To give a negative command, simply use the pronoun as you always would * .
Don’t do it = No lo hagas.
Don’t throw it to her = No se lo tires.
* If you need a review of how object pronouns work, click here !
Unfortunately, even though positive commands are easier to conjugate than negative commands, they are more complicated when dealing with pronouns. Follow these rules to use them properly;
Pronouns are attached to the end of positive commands.
For example; Eat it = Cómelo . Throw it to her = Tíraselo.
As you can see in the examples above, attaching a pronoun often requires adding an accent also. This allows the stress pattern of the original verb to remain the same. You will need to place an accent on the original stress point if you:
Attach one pronoun to a verb with two or more syllables
Attach two pronouns to any verb
As always, if you use both a direct and an indirect object pronoun, the indirect comes first. Likewise, if you use le, or les before lo, la, los, or las it will change to se.
Verb Positive Form Negative Form To put Pon No pongas (regular) To come Ven No vengas (regular) To go Ve No vayas To be Sé No seas To have Ten No tengas (regular) To do, to make Haz No hagas (regular) To leave Sal No salgas (regular) To say, to tell Di No digas (regular)
Now you try it! On a piece of paper, or in your head, conjugate the following and then click for the correct answer. Note: do not use tú when giving a command. Ask! (Preguntar) Study! (Estudiar) Run! (Correr) Write! (Escribir) ¡Pregunta! ¡Estudia! ¡Corre! ¡Escribe!
Finally, try some with pronouns. Buy it (f) for me! (Comprar) Study them (m)! (Estudiar) Don’t eat it (f)! (Comer) Don’t throw it (m) to us! (Tirar) ¡Cómpramela! ¡Estudíalos! ¡No la comas! ¡No nos lo tires!