TNs, U86: Verbs: Imperative (Formation, With Object Pronouns, Irregular Forms, Negative, Pronominal)

The imperative (l'impératif) mood is used to give orders or to make a suggestion or a request.

Formation of the imperative

To form the imperative, simply take the present tense forms of tu, nous, or vous. See the chart below. For -er verbs, the -s is dropped for the tu form, unless the adverbial pronouns en or y follow the verb (please re. below).

Note that according to French typographic rules, an extra space is required before the exclamation mark at the end of a sentence in the imperative.

Pronoun Regarder Choisir Attendre Boire
(tu) Regarde ! Choisis ! Attends ! Bois !
(nous) Regardons ! Choisissons ! Attendons ! Buvons !
(vous) Regardez ! Choisissez ! Attendez ! Buvez !
  • Mange les fraises ! — Eat the strawberries!
  • Finissons notre repas ! — Let's finish our meal!
  • Buvez du vin rouge ! — Drink red wine!

Note that the nous form of the imperative corresponds to the command in English "let's" + verb.

Imperative with object pronouns

In affirmative commands, object pronouns are placed after the verb and connected with a hyphen.

  • Donne-lui ton adresse ! — Give him your address!
  • Mettons-les sur la table ! — Let's put them on the table!
  • Excusez-le ! — Excuse him!

Note that the indirect or direct object me is changed to its stressed pronoun form when inverted in the imperative.

  • Regardez-moi ! (not me) — Look at me!
  • Dis-moi ton nom ! (not me) — Tell me your name!

When the verb has both a direct and an indirect pronoun, the direct pronoun will be inserted between the verb and the indirect pronoun, with hyphens.

  • Donne-le-moi ! — Give it to me!
  • Présentez-la-leur ! — Introduce her to them!

You will need to return the final -s in the tu form of -er verbs if the verb is followed by the pronoun en or y for euphony. The -s creates a Z-sound liaison and avoids the vowel sound conflict.

  • Achète des journaux ! ⇒ Achètes-en !
  • Va au musée ! ⇒ Vas-y !

Irregular forms

There are some commonly used irregular forms of the imperative, namely the imperative forms for être, avoir, savoir, and vouloir.

Pronoun Être Avoir Savoir Vouloir
(tu) Sois ! Aie ! Sache ! Veuille !
(nous) Soyons ! Ayons ! Sachons ! Veuillons !
(vous) Soyez ! Ayez ! Sachez ! Veuillez !

The imperative form veuillez, which comes from vouloir, is very polite and formal. This is translated in English with the word "please”.Veuillez is common in official letters, public signage, and correspondence, for example.

  • Veuillez rappeler plus tard ! — Please call back later!
  • Veuillez patienter ! — Please wait!
  • Veuillez accepter mes excuses ! — Please accept my excuses!

Note that instead of the formal Veuillez, Merci de is common and still a polite way of giving orders, suggestions or advice.

  • Merci de noter les points suivants ! — Please take note of the following!
  • Merci de me contacter ! — Please contact me!
  • Merci de vérifier que votre portable est éteint ! — Please ensure that your cell phone is turned off.

Negative imperative

In the negative form, the negation elements ne and pas are placed around the verb. Object pronouns are placed before the verb. The word order is similar to that of the indicative mood, so just remove the subject pronoun.

  • Ne sois pas trop triste ! — Don't be too sad!
  • N'ayons pas peur ! — Let's not get scared!
  • Ne me regardez pas ! — Don’t look at me!
  • Ne lui donnez pas votre adresse ! — Don't give him your address!
  • Ne me le donne pas ! — Don’t give it to me!

Remember that the direct/indirect object pronoun order is reversed to indirect/direct in 3rd person singular or plural.

  • Ne le lui dites pas ! — Don’t say it to him/her!
  • Ne la leur présentez pas ! — Don’t introduce her to them!

Imperative with pronominal verbs

For pronominal verbs, the pronouns are placed after the verb. The reflexive pronoun (te) takes the stressed pronoun form (toi) in this case. However, in the negative imperative, the reflexive pronoun is placed before the verb, and the "te" remains as "te." Observe how the imperative of se lever is formed below.

  • Statement: Tu te lèves. — You get up.
  • Imperative: Lève-toi ! — Get up!
  • Negative imperative: Ne te lève pas ! — Don't get up!

For the formal singular or plural vous, just like for nous, the subject, object, reflexive and stressed pronoun forms are the same.

  • Statement: Vous vous asseyez. — You sit down.
  • Imperative: Asseyez-vous ! — Sit down!
  • Negative imperative: Ne vous asseyez pas ! — Don't sit down!

Here is another example: the nous form of s'arrêter.

  • Statement: Nous nous arrêtons. — We stop.
  • Imperative: Arrêtons-nous ! — Let's stop!
  • Negative imperative: Ne nous arrêtons pas ! — Let's not stop!

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January 21, 2019


Merci mille fois pour tout le travaille que vous et Sitesurf faisait pour nous.

January 22, 2019

...pour tout le travail que vous et Sitesurf avez fait pour nous.

Je vous en prie. :-)

January 22, 2019

Merci. J ous remercie.

January 22, 2019
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