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Giving Orders and Instructions: Italian grammar lesson 123

Giving Orders in Italian: the imperative form

In English, when we give an order or we tell someone to do something, we simply use what seems to be the basic form of the verb. From a grammatical point of view, though, we are using an imperative form. This form is used to give orders, commands and instructions in Italian.

  • Apri la finestra!
    Open the window!
  • Mangia la pasta!
    Eat the pasta!

Unlike in English and other languages, in Italian, the imperative conjugation of verbs is not always the same as the simple present.

commands in Italian

The imperative: When to use

Before looking at the conjugation, though, let’s understand when we use this form in Italian. The imperative can be used to give commands, orders or instructions and it can be used with the pronouns tu, voi, noi and lei (formal you).

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It only exists in the present tense.

  • Command:
    Fiocco, vieni qui!
    Fiocco, come here!
  • Instruction:
    Aprite
    il libro e cominciate a leggere.
    Open the book and start reading.

Imperative form in Italian

The imperative: Conjugations

For the pronouns tu and voi, the conjugation is the same as the present tense for the verbs ending in –ERE and –IRE.
For verbs in ARE, the conjugation for voi is the same as the present, while it changes for tu. In this case, we use the root of the verb + A.

 

Verb TU VOI
APRIRE apri aprite
CORRERE corri correte
MANGIARE mangia mangiate
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On the other hand, to form an imperative for the pronouns noi and lei (formal you) we will use the congiuntivo presente (present subjunctive).

  • Iniziamo!
    Let’s start!
  • Venga da questa parte, per favore.
    Come this way, please.

Instructions in Italian

The imperative: Irregular verbs

As you were probably expecting, the irregular verbs have an irregular conjugation of the imperative! Have a look at the table below to learn the imperative form of some of the most commonly used Italian verbs.

 

Verb TU VOI
ESSERE Sii Siate
AVERE Abbi Abbiate
SAPERE Sappi Sappiate
DARE Da’ / Dai Date
FARE Fa’ / Fai Fate
STARE Sta’ / Stai State
ANDARE Va’ / Vai Andate
DIRE Di’ Dite

Giving Orders Italian

The imperative: Examples

Here are some more examples of how to use the imperative form in Italian.

  • Prendi il treno per andare a scuola, l’autobus è molto lento!
    Take the train to go to school, the bus is very slow!
  • Per favore, andate via, voglio stare solo.
    Please, go away, I want to be alone.
  • Sappi che non ti ho mai detto bugie.
    Know that I never told you lies.
  • Abbiate il coraggio di ammetterlo!
    Have the courage to admit it!
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