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A Lesson About Commands in Spanish

Spanish commands are pretty simple. Open the Verb Chart at http://www.redshift.com/~bonajo/spanreg.htm . Find the column labeled “Command.”

The Basics

  • The -ir verbs are not listed because they are conjugated exactly the same as the -er verbs.
  • There is no I form. You can't order yourself, "Eat." And if you do, you'd use you, not I.
  • There is a "3rd person” form, but that's actually for usted, not for él / la, because you can’t direct a command at him / her.
  • In the form, negative and positive commands are conjugated differently.

Conjugations. Look at the on the chart.

  • Flipped vowel. All forms except are the same as the regular sentence forms (indicative), except the vowel flips: a’s become e’s and e’s become a’s.
  • The form, in affirmative commands, is the same as the indicative usted form. *Habla más fuerte. Come tu cena.
  • The form, in negative commands, is the same as other command forms: flip the vowel and add the normal s ending. No me hables así. No comas eso.

Object pronoun placement. Where do you put the little pronouns? DO, IO, and Reflexive? All three are treated the same:

When the command is positive, the object pronoun is attached to it: Llámame. Dímelo a mi. Siéntese. When the command is negative, the object pronoun comes before the verb: No me llames. No me lo digas / No me digas. No se siente.

Irregular Forms: Making an Educated Guess.

Please don’t work on irregular commands until you are comfortable with regular commands. It is better to learn one thing well than two things poorly. Vale más pájaro en mano de cien volando.

With stem-changing verbs, the stem change of the regular present tense is always the same in the command form:

  • duerme / no duermas / / duerma usted.
  • pide / no pidas / / pida usted.
  • vuelve / no vuelvas / / vuelva usted.

If the regular present tense verb is irregular in the yo form, that irregularity is usually the same in the negative command form, and the affirmative command is often a shorter form:

  • yo digo. Commands: di / no digas / / diga usted.
  • yo tengo. Commands: ten / no tengas / / tenga usted.
  • yo salgo. Commands: sal / no salgas / / salga usted.
  • yo vengo. Commands: ven / no vengas / / venga usted.
  • yo hago. Commands: haz / no hagas / / haga usted.
  • yo pongo. Commands: pon / no pongas / / ponga usted.

Helpful Resources:

May 13, 2015



Menu of Paula’s Grammar Lessons
I’ll make a separate page for these one day, but today is not that day.

Direct Object Pronouns

Me Hace Falta

The Spanish Subjunctive. A Lesson for Beginners.

Indirect Object Pronouns are Necessary

Shortcuts to Learn the Pronoun Chart (same thread as IO pronouns)

Ser & Estar sentences

Pronominal Verbs. Not for the faint of heart.

How Google Translate Helps Me

Are Indirect Object pronouns necessary? Reply to Nekodomo

Speak in Chorus with Duo to Improve Speech

How to improve your Spanish and help the community. Idea #2.

A way to practice with a native speaker, and help your community


Nice! I really needed to brush up on commands.


Thanks for the lesson! I learned affirmative tú commands in my Spanish class, but it was nice to learn about the negative form as well. Your explanations are helpful and thorough, too. It's helpful to have grammar concepts explained thoroughly since duo doesn't really give you grammar lessons. :)


because you can’t direct a command at him / her.

I suggest you add "in Spanish" to this, and for the first person limit as well, as that is not so much a universal limit, as a limit in the language under discussion. But of course, this has almost no relevance whatsoever.

Anyway, nice post!


I'm glad I found this... thanks Paula!


WHY CAN´T I copy this on my Mac????????? Thanks for the only explanation I understood!


http://www.redshift.com/~bonajo/spanreg.htm doesn't work. It returns an error message.

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