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Formal Commands in Spanish

Formal Commands in Spanish
Formal Commands in Spanish

How do you give formal commands in Spanish?

Formal commands in Spanish are used when ordering or telling someone to do something. This is often referred to as the “imperative” form of the verb.

Haga Ud. el desayuno.- Make (You)  breakfast.

Escriba  Ud. la carta. – Write (You)  the letter.

Salgan Uds. primero. – (You-all) Come out first

Vayan Uds. después. – Go (You-all) later.


Note: Spanish has both a formal and an informal style of speech (tú / usted). This distinction applies to commands. Informal, speech is used among friends, coworkers, relatives, or when addressing a child. Formal speech is generally used to be polite or to express respect.

Haga usted el desayuno. – Make (You)  breakfast. (formal)

Tú harás el desayuno. – (You) will make breakfast. (informal)

 

Note: The formal commands are formed the same way as the Present subjunctive:

  1. Start with the yo form of the present indicative.
  2. Then drop the – o ending.
  3. Finally, add the following endings:


ar verbs/
er verbs/ir verbs

Usted (you formal)e/a/a

Ustedes(you all formal)en/an/an

 

e.g.

Hable usted rápido – Speak fast

Hablen ustedes rápido – Speak fast

 

Coma usted lento – Eat slow

Coman ustedes lento – Eat slow

 

Escriba usted con claridad – Write clearly

Escriban ustedes con claridad – Write clearly

 

Remember, if the first person singular (Yo) form is irregular, that irregularity is carried over into the formation of the formal command.

e.g.

pedir (to ask) (Yo pido)

Pida más tiempo.  – Ask for more time

 

As with the Present subjunctive, the following verbs are irregular:

Dar (to give)dé usted / den ustedes

Estar (to be)esté usted / estén ustedes

Ir (to go)vaya usted / vayan ustedes

Ser(to be)sea usted / sean ustedes

Saber(to know)sepa usted / sepan ustedes.

 

The affirmative and negative commands use the same verb forms.

Affirmative-Negative

Hable usted. – (Speak).-No hable usted. – (Don’t speak).

Coma usted.- (Eat)-No coma usted. – (Don’t eat).

Escriba usted. – (Write).-No escriba usted. – (Don’t write).

 Read more about the Spanish grammar

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