Language Guide
Verbs
Formal Affirmative and Negative Commands

Formal Affirmative and Negative Commands

There are many different types of Spanish commands, including tú commands, nosotros commands, indirect commands, and formal commands, which we'll cover in this article.

Overview

Formal commands are often used when addressing a person you don't know well, a person older than you, or a person to whom you want to show deference or respect (like a boss or teacher).

Singular Formal (Usted) Commands

Here are a few examples of singular formal commands, which are also called usted  commands.

Pague la cuenta, por favor.
Pay the bill, please.
 
Sea amable.
Be nice.
 
Abra la ventana.
Open the window.
 

Plural Formal (Ustedes) Commands

Here are a few examples of plural formal commands, which are also called ustedes  commands.

In countries other than Spain, you can also use these commands to address any group of people, regardless of age or social standing. This is because ustedes is used for both the formal and informal plural in Latin America.

Damas y caballeros, pasen por aquí.
Ladies and gentlemen, come this way.
 
Vengan más temprano mañana.
Come earlier tomorrow.
 
Estudiantes, abran sus libros.
Students, open your books.
 

Affirmative Formal Commands

All Ud. (usted) and Uds. (ustedes) commands are the same as the Ud. and Uds. present subjunctive forms.

InfinitiveUd. Present SubjunctiveUd. Formal CommandUds. Present SubjunctiveUds. Formal Command
hablar
 
hable
 
hable
 
hablen
 
hablen
 
comer
 
coma
 
coma
 
coman
 
coman
 
vivir
 
viva
 
viva
 
vivan
 
vivan
 

Irregular present subjunctive forms can be found in the article on the present subjunctive.

Pronoun Placement in Affirmative Formal Commands

Pronouns are attached to the end of affirmative commands. If the command form of the verb has more than one syllable, a written accent is added when attaching a pronoun.

Tráigamelo.
Bring it to me.
 
Míralo.
Look at it.
 

Negative Formal Commands

Negative formal commands couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is put a negative word such as no  in front of the affirmative formal command, and you've got yourself a negative formal command.

No saquen sus libros.
Do not take out your books.
 
No ponga su bolsa aquí.
Do not put your purse here.
 
No vengan mañana.
Do not come tomorrow.
 

Pronoun Placement in Negative Formal Commands

Pronouns come between the negative word (such as no) and the command form in negative formal commands.

No se levante antes de leer el artículo.
Don’t get up before you read the article.
 
Nunca les compre dulces a los niños.
Never buy candy for the children.
 
Nunca se los compre.
Never buy it for them.
 

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