Negative orders with pronouns in Italian
In the previous lesson, we have seen how to form a sentence to give orders and instructions in the negative. To do it, we use the imperative form. What happens, though, when we want to use a negative imperative with pronouns?
We have learned that in Italian, in the positive imperative pronouns join onto the end of the verb, forming a single word: Rispondigli! (Answer him!), Dimmelo! (Tell it to me!), etc.
Let’s see what happens in the negative!
Negative imperative with pronouns: Rules
In the negative form of the imperative, all direct and indirect pronouns can either come before or after the verb. Both forms are correct!
Let’s have a look at some examples:
- (Voi) Non parlatemi così! or Non mi parlate così!
Don’t talk to me that way!
- (Noi) Non mangiamolo! or Non lo mangiamo!
Let’s not eat it!
- (Tu) Non muoverti! or Non ti muovere!
As you have noticed, when they come before the verb, the pronouns remain separated, while when they come after the verb, they join onto it, forming a single word.
Negative imperative with pronouns: Exceptions
If you pay attention, you’ll notice we did not provide an example with the formal lei. This is because direct and indirect pronouns always come before the verb when using lei.
- (Lei formale) Non mi guardi così!
Do not look at me like that!
- (Lei formale) Per favore, non lo faccia!
Please, do not do it!
Negative imperative with pronouns: How to use & Examples
Nowadays, it is probably more common to place the pronouns before the verb, rather than after, but both forms are correct, and you can freely choose when to use one or the other!
Let’s practice with some more examples of the use of the negative imperative with pronouns.
- Per favore, non darglielo. or Per favore, non glielo dare.
Please, do not give it to him/her/them.
- La torta è per Maria, non mangiatela! or La torta è per Maria, non la mangiate!
The cake is for Mary, do not eat it!