Forming Commands

  Formal Commands   To form a formal command in Spanish for verbs ending in “AR” you add “e” to command one person (usted) and you add “en” to command a groups of people (ustedes). For example: to tell one person to “talk” it would be: “Hable”. To tell more than one person to talk it would be: “Hablen”

To form a formal command for a verb ending in “ER” or “IR” you add “a” to command one person and “an” to command more than one person. For example: to tell one person to “eat” (Comer) = “Coma”. To tell more than one person to eat is “Coman”. To tell one person to write (escribir) is “Escriba” and more than one person is “Escriban”.
 
Commanding One Person in the “Usted” Form:
 
Hablar = To talk

Él habla = He talks.
Ella habla = She talks.
Hable= Talk. (command)
 
He talks with the teacher. = Él habla con el maestro.
Talk with the teacher. = Hable con el maestro.
 
Caminar = To walk

Él camina. = He walks.
Ella camina. = She walks.
Camine. = Walk. (command)
 
He walks to the class. = Él camina a la clase.
Walk to class. = Camine a la clase.

Comer = To eat

Ella come. = She eats.
Coma por favor. = Please eat.

Bob eats in the cafeteria. = Bob come en la cafetería.
Bob, eat in the cafeteria now. = Bob, coma en la cafetería ahora.

Escribir = To write

Ella escribe. = She writes.
Escriba por favor. = Please write.

Julia escribe una carta. = Julia writes a card.
Julia, escriba una carta. = Julia, write a card.
 
 
Commanding More Than One Person:

 
HABLAR:

Ellos hablan. = They talk.
Ustedes hablan. = All of you talk.
Hablen. = Talk. (all of you)
 
Ellos hablan con el maestro. = They talk with the teacher.
Ustedes hablan con el maestro. = All of you talk with the teacher.
Hablen con el maestro. = Talk to the teacher. (Commanding two or more people to talk with the teacher.)
 
 
COMER:

Ellos comen. = They eat.
Ustedes comen. = All of you eat.
Coman. = Eat. (all of you)
Ustedes comen a las doce. = All of you eat at twelve.
Coman a las doce. = Eat at twelve.
 
 
ESCRIBIR:

Ellas escriben. = They write.
Escriban, por favor. = Write, please. (all of you)
Ustedes escriben su nombre en el cuaderno. = All of you write your name. (statement)
Escriban se nombre en el cuaderno. = Write your names in the notebook. (Command)
 

For any of the verbs that have irregular conjugations in the present tense you need to use that form when you make the verb a command. As a rule, always use the first person conjugation of the irregular verb in the present tense.
 
Pensar = To think

Pienso = I think.
Piense = Think. (Commanding one person formally)

Salir – To leave

Salgo = I leave
Salga = Leave. (Commanding one person formally)

Entender = To understand

Entiendo = I understand
Entienda = Understand. (Commanding one person formally)
 

Informal Commands
 
To command one person to something informally you conjugate to the third person of that verb in the present tense. The majority of Spanish speakers in the world will use the formal command when talking to more than one person. This is covered above.

Hablar = To talk
Él habla. = He talks.
Ella habla = She talks.
Habla = Talk. (informal command)
 
He talks with the teacher. = Él habla con el maestro.
Talk with the teacher. = Habla con el maestro.
 
Caminar = To walk

Él camina. = He walks.
Ella camina. = She walks.
Camina. = Walk. (informal command)
 
He walks to the class. = Él camina a la clase.
Walk to class. = Camina a la clase.

Comer = To eat

Ella come. = She eats.
Come por favor. = Please eat.

Bob eats in the cafeteria. = Bob come en la cafetería.

Bob, eat in the cafeteria now. = Bob, come en la cafetería ahora.

Escribir = To write

Ella escribe. = She writes.
Escribe por favor. = Please write.

Julia escribe una carta. = Julia writes a card.
Julia, escribe una carta. = Julia, write a card.

There are several verbs that are irregular in their informal command form. They are as follows:

decir – di
hacer – haz
ir – ve
poner – pon
salir – sal
ser – sé
tener – ten
venir – ven 

Dime tú nombre. = Tell me your name.
Ven aquí = Come here.
Haz la tarea. = Do the homework.

Making Negative Commands

To make negative commands you put “no” in front of the command form for formal commands (Usted and Ustedes):

*Remember that “ustedes” means “you” plural. In the north they say “you guys” and in the south it is “ya’ll”

Hablar = To speak

Hable = Speak (formal command)
No hable = Don’t speak. (formal command)
Hablen = (All of you ) speak.
No hablen = Don’t speak. (ustedes form)

Comer = To eat

Coma = Eat. (formal command)
No coma = Don’t eat. (formal command)
Coman = (All of you) eat.
No coman. = Don’t eat. (all of you)

Escribir = To write

Escriba = Write. (formal command)
No escriba = Don’t write. (formal command)
Escriban = Write (all of you).
No escriban = Don’t write (all of you).

Traer = To bring

Traiga = Bring. (formal command for Usted form)
No traiga = Don’t bring
No traigan = Don’t bring (all of you)

To make negative commands for informal commands you you change the the verb to the spelling you used for the formal usted command and add an “s”. I know… what were they thinking!!! I didn’t make this stuff up.

Don’t speak. = No hables (informal)
Don’t speak = No hable (formal)

Don’t eat = No comas (informal)
Don’t eat = No coma

Don’t leave = No salgas (informal)
Don’t leave = No salga (formal)



Worksheets for Forming Commands in Spanish:

  • Informal Commands Matching
  • Formal Commands Quiz
  • Formal Commands Activity
  • Commands Translation Exercise
  • Commands Practice
  • Commands Matching
  • Commands Fill in the Blanks