How to form the IMPERATIVE with Italian verbs

The imperative in Italian is used to give orders or exhortations.

As you will find out it is a rather regular tense.

Also, the imperative exists just in the present tense!

And the first and third persons singular (IO e LUI/LEI) do not exist.

 

TU and VOI are the same as in the indicative, with the exception of the verbs from the first group ( – ARE), which adds and -a to the root. No changes happen for the verbs of – ERE, -IRE.

LEI (You formal) is identical to the present subjunctive of the verbs of all conjunctions (-are, -ere, -ire).

NOI (Let’s…) is identical to the indicative which is identical to the subjunctive.

LORO which is hardly ever used, would still stick to the subjective.

MANGIARE

PRENDERE

DORMIRE

TUmangiaprendidormi
LEImangiprendadorma
NOImangiamoprendiamodormiamo
VOImangiateprendetedormite
LOROmanginoprendanodormano

 

The imperative has just few irregular verbs, like ESSERE and AVERE:

Both verbs use the subjunctive in all their forms.

ESSEREAVERE
TUsiiabbi
LEIsiaabbia
NOIsiamoabbiamo
VOIsiateabbiate
LOROsianosiate

The imperative do not use the subjects, so that you must say, for instance, MANGIA! instead of TU MANGIA!

In negative sentences, the imperative expresses a prohibition or a ban!

You can do the negative imperative by adding NON before the verb. However, with ‘TU’, the imperative is done by using NON + the infinitive of the verbs.

Non mangiare!

Non cantare!

Non dormire!

The rest of the imperative is not affected by this trend.

Non dormite!

Non dorma!

 

A few much used verbs have a particular ‘apostrophized’ form of the imperative of the second person singular TU:

fare – FA

dare – DA

stare – STA

dire – DI

andare – VA

 

Imperative & pronouns

Can the imperative be matched with the pronouns? Yes, it can.

The pronouns precede the verb, for instance:

Mi dica, mi scusi! Non mi segua! Non lo mangiamo!

Also, with the apostrophized imperative forms (fa’, da’, sta’, di’, va’) the first letter of the attached pronoun is doubled, being the exception gli and its compound forms.

Dimmi la verità! Tell me the truth!

Dammi la borsa! Give me the bag!

Digli il segreto! Tell him the secret!

In negative form, the pronouns can either precede the verb or merge with it at end.

 

Here you can find plenty with patterns and exercises to practise the Imperative

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Author: Serena Capilli

Language Coach, Online Tutor, communications and marketing specialist and philanthropist. I do all this with passion and dedication. My favourite quote is: If it were easy, everyone would do it.

3 thoughts

    1. A breve (stasera o domani) pubblicherò una nuova sezione sul blog tutta in italiano, si chiamerà l’Italia che non conosci, e parlare di tutte quelle destinazioni turistiche che molti stranieri non conoscono, ma che secondo me sono la vera bellezza dell’Italia.

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