Let’s recall our memory! How many times a day do we give instructions or orders? Several times i assume. Well, imperative tense is commonly used in French in daily conversations. It is the equivalent of Do this, don’t do that, let’s do this, ... Today, I've prepared a special lesson for you to help you get to know imperative tense and be able to use it in different contexts.
When do we use imperative?
Imperative tense is used in French to give instructions, order, interdiction, advice, to invite or wish something. It is used in daily conversation and it is very useful for you.
Instruction: Prenez vos livres ! => Take your books !
Advice : Fais attention à la marche ! => Watch your steps !
Order : Sortez de chez moi! => Get out of my house !
Interdiction : Ne fumez pas ici! => Do not smoke here !
Invitation : Entrez! => Enter !
Wish : Fais un bon voyage! => Have a nice trip !
How to build imperative tense?
Imperative tense is very similar to present tense, except that it is only used for tu, nous, and vous form. There is no subject. While formulating a command, we do not use the subject tu, nous or vous.
For the verbs of the first group , and those of the third group ending with "es" at the second person of singular, there is no need adding an "S". The same is applicable to the verb "aller" which is an irregular verb. Below are some examples.
Tu manges des fruits et légumes Mange des fruits et des légumes
Tu vas dans ta chambre Va dans ta chambre
Tu ouvres la porte Ouvre la porte
Nous allons au supermarché Allons au supermarché
Vous prenez le train Prenez le train
Are there some particularities?
Some verbs are irregular and you need to know them by heart to be able to use them correctly. For example :
Avoir : aie, ayons ayez
Être : sois, soyons, soyez
aller : va, allons, allez
Savoir : Sache, sachons, sachez
Vouloir : veuille, veuillons, veuillez
Imperative with reflexive verbs
With reflexive verbs, imperative tense is built like this : verb + the reflexive pronoun toi, nous or vous, separated by a hyphen. In the negative form we use the regular pronoun te, nous, or vous.
Present tense : tu te lèves => You get up Imperative affirmative : lève-toi => Get up !
Imperative negative : Ne te lève pas => Don't get up!
I hope this post helps you know better how to make commands in French.
For more on imperative tense you can explore
You might also be interested in learning how to make negative sentences.