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Published on: Grammar

How to Master Informal Commands and Spanish Imperatives

Informal commands are that perfect grammar tool that lets you tell someone what to do in another language. Whether it’s something like “pass me the salt” or something a bit more…intense, these Spanish commands are absolutely crucial.

Regardless of what you need it for – you’ll definitely want to master the use of informal commands in Spanish. So let’s jump right in. 

¡Ponte a estudiar! 

The Imperative Mood

Before we get too far into describing how to use informal commands, first we need to go over what these conjugations mean. 

These Spanish verb forms are known as a mood – not a tense. 

In Spanish, there are three moods:

These three moods describe the grammatical purpose of the verb and have nothing to do with time at all. 

Luckily for you, the imperative mood only exists in the present tense – so there’s not too much memorization. 

Then, you can separate the imperative mood into informal commands and formal commands. Today, we’ll only focus on the informal ones. 

Usage & Meaning

When you use a verb as an informal command, you are either telling someone to do something or not to do something. 

For example, here are a few simple examples in English:

  • Pass me the salt.
  • Don’t talk to me like that. 
  • Come here.
  • Don’t run in the halls.
  • Sit.

Take the opportunity to practice your Spanish and train your dog at the same time by learning Dog Commands in Spanish.

All of those are perfect examples of commands in English. They can either be affirmative or negative commands, just like in Spanish. 

Let’s move on to them in Spanish, now. 

Affirmative Tú Commands 

An affirmative command in Spanish is a verb in the imperative form telling them to do something. There are both regular affirmative commands, as well as irregular ones. Let’s start with the easy ones!

Spanish Verb -AR Verbs -ER Verbs -IR Verbs
Singular Habla Corre Abre 
Plural Hablad  Corred Abrid

As you can see, the conjugations for the affirmative commands are very simple. All you need to do is use the third person singular form for the present tense indicative. 

So it couldn’t get any easier than that!

Only Spain uses the plural vosotros form here. Almost everywhere else in the Spanish-speaking world, they use the formal plural commands, even in informal situations.

The regular informal commands for the form are quite easy to conjugate so it shouldn’t take you too long to use them correctly. And don’t forget that you can also use the alternative vos form in regions that use it. In that case, you would say hablá, corré, and abrí

Irregular Affirmative Tú Commands

Unfortunately, there are many irregular informal affirmative commands. Say that five times fast. 

The good news is, they are some of the most commonly used verbs, so you’ll be able to get a lot of practice with them. And you’ll be able to memorize them pretty quickly! Here are the irregular commands:

Spanish Verb Affirmative Informal Command
Tener Ten
Decir Di
Ir Ve
Ser Sé 
Venir Ven
Salir Sal
Poner Pon
Hacer Haz

As you can see, they’re fairly common words. But they’re all very short and if you write them down, you’ll have them memorized in no time!


A silly, but a helpful mnemonic device to remember them is: Vin Diesel Has 10 Weapons (Ven Di Sal Haz Ten Ve Pon Sé)

Negative Tú Commands

Image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash

Moving on to the negative command form, we have a completely separate method of conjugation. So when you want to tell someone not to do something – the conjugation is totally different. Let’s take a quick look, but pay attention to see if it looks familiar.

Spanish Verb -AR Verbs -ER Verbs -IR Verbs
Singular  Hables Corras Abras
Plural Habléis  Corráis Abráis 

Notice anything in particular? 

The negative informal commands look exactly the same as the conjugation for the present subjunctive. 

But don’t be fooled – the subjunctive mood has absolutely nothing to do with informal negative commands. However, it just happens to be that they share the same conjugation for the endings. 

So if you’ve already memorized the subjunctive conjugations, then this should be super easy! 

And if you haven’t done so already – then it looks like you’re taking that first step towards doing so. 

This also means that all the irregular verbs in the subjunctive mood are also irregular for negative commands. 

Pronoun Placement

Image by Andre Taissin via Unsplash

Now that you know how to conjugate the affirmative and negative commands in Spanish, you just need to learn how to place the pronouns. 

Because many times, you’ll need a pronoun when using Spanish commands. Either because it’s required or because you want to speak quickly. 

So here are the rules for using pronouns for the informal commands in Spanish:

  • They go at the end of a verb for the affirmative commands. 
  • They go before the verb for a negative command. 

Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Hazlo. – Do it.
  • Pásamela.Pass it to me.
  • melo. – Tell me.
  • Ponédoslo. – (You all) Put it on.
  • No lo hagas. – Don’t do it.
  • No me la pases. – Don’t pass it to me.
  • No me lo digas. – Don’t tell it to me.
  • No os lo pongáis. – Don’t you all put it on.

For the affirmative Spanish commands, you’ll add any pronouns to the end. However, for the negative commands, you’ll put them before the verb.

Don’t forget to add the accent marks when there’s more than one pronoun! You can review all the rules for accent marks in Spanish if you need a refresher.

Special Note

Before we head off – there’s something to note about the informal commands in Spanish. 

That is that they don’t sound nearly as aggressive in Spanish as they do in English. Now of course, there are limits, but to a native Spanish speaker, they are much more casual. 

In other words, you could probably use an affirmative command with your friends or family without needing to add a por favor to the end. 

Although, context is everything and politeness is often very personal. But as a general rule to take with a grain of salt – don’t get offended when native speakers use commands with you.

Image by Alex Green via Pexels

No te vayas

That’s all for today! But just remember we’re only halfway done. You’re now officially a pro at using informal commands – but you still need to get to work on the formal commands, too. 

So if you want some hands-on practice for the formal and informal commands, go ahead and sign up for a free private class or a 7-day free trial of our group classes and we’ll walk you through them.

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