There are many different types of Spanish commands, including negative tú commands, formal commands, indirect commands, nosotros commands, and affirmative tú commands. We'll focus on affirmative tú commands in this article, so ¡ponte listo!(look sharp!) These command forms are definitely going to come in handy.
Tú commands are the singular form of informal commands. You can use affirmative tú commands to tell a friend, family member the same age as you or younger, classmate, child, or pet to do something. To tell somebody not to do something, you would use a negative tú command. This article covers affirmative tú commands (also called the informal imperative) in all their forms.
Just so you know, here is what each of these command forms looks like.
Affirmative Tú Command
Negative Tú Command
How to Form Regular Affirmative Tú Commands
For regular verbs, you will simply use the third-person singular form of the present indicative to form an affirmative tú command.
Forming Commands with -ar Verbs
- For verbs that end in -ar, add the third-person singular ending -a to the stem
Stem? I thought we were talking about verbs, not plants.
In Spanish grammar lingo, a stem is the verb form you're left with if you take the -ar, -er or -ir away from the end of an infinitive.
Example: The stem of comprar is compr-.
Forming Commands with -er and -ir Verbs
- For verbs that end in -er and -ir, add the third-person singular ending -e to the stem
|escrib-||Write the essay.|
Forming Commands with Verbs with Stem or Spelling Changes
For verbs with stem changes or spelling changes in the present tense, the stem or spelling change also applies to the informal command form. Here are some examples of these types of verbs.
|Close the door.|
|Move those chairs.|
|Include your information here.|
Irregular Affirmative Tú Commands
All verbs with irregular third-person singular forms in the present tense maintain that same irregularity in the affirmative informal command, except for the following eight verbs, which have special irregular affirmative command forms. These ones are super-duper irregular.
|Verb||Affirmative Tú Command Form|
Pronoun Placement with Commands
Punctuation to the Rescue!
Because informal tú commands take the same form as the third-person singular of the present tense, it is helpful to include exclamation points to indicate urgency. You can also include the name of the person you are commanding, followed by a comma. Without the comma, an imperative verb could be confused with a third-person singular present verb. Compare the following sentences, paying careful attention to the different punctuation.
|She buys the shirt.||Present indicative|
|Buy the shirt!||Informal imperative|
|Alicia buys the shirt.||Present indicative|
|Alicia, buy the shirt.||Informal imperative|
As you can see, punctuation can really change how a sentence is interpreted.