How To Conjugate Spanish Commands

The Role Of The Subjunctive Mood In Conjugating Spanish Commands

The first step in understanding how to give a command in Spanish is to recognize that conjugating commands (except for tú commands) is based on the present tense Spanish subjunctive mood.

Spanish uses the subjunctive more than English to express emotions, points of view, wishes, denial, disagreement, and so on. The English counterpart would be something like “I wish I were home, but I doubt that you agree.”

The present subjunctive trades endings between -ar and -er/-ir present tense verbs. Thus:

  • Hablar is conjugated in the subjunctive as (yo) hable, (tú) hables, (él, ella, Ud.) hable, (nosotros/as) hablemos, (vosotros/as) habléis, (ellos/ellas/Uds. hablen
  • Comer and vivir are conjugated in the subjunctive as coma/viva, comas/vivas, coma/viva, comamos/vivamos, comáis/viváis, coman/vivan

How To Conjugate Spanish Commands

Spanish commands—i.e., giving orders or making requests–are conjugated both in the affirmative (i.e., dosomething) and the negative (i.e., don’t do something) according to the following patterns:

1. The Regular Affirmative Tú Command

Giving a command to a family member or friend simply uses the indicative—not subjunctive–Ud. (usted) form of the verb.


Habla tú con Juan. (Speak with Juan.)

Come tu comida. (Eat your meal.)

2. The irregular affirmative tú commands are almost all formed by using the yo stem of the verb in the present tense without the “go” ending.


The Spanish Infinitive/yo form)                  Example tú command

decir/digo (to say)                                        Di la verdad. (Tell the truth)

salir/salgo (to leave)                                    Sal de la habitación. (Leave the room.)

poner/pongo (to put)                                   Pon el libro ahí. (Put the book there.)     

Irregularly formed commands

hacer/hago (to do)                                       Haz el trabajo (Do the work)

ir/voy (to go)                                                  Ve ahora. (Go now.)

tener/tengo (to have)                                   Ten un buen día. (Have a good day)

ser/soy (to be)                                              Sé amiga de todos. (Be a friend to everyone.)

dar/doy (to give)                                           Todos digan gracias. (Everyone, give thanks.)

3. The regular AND irregular negative tú commands are almost all formed by using the yo stem of the verb in the present tense, and by using the second person subjunctive tú endings (-es/-as) for the verb.


Regular verb: No hables tan fuerte. (Don’t speak so loudly.)

Irregular verb: No digas eso. (Don’t say that.)

4. Both the regular and irregular affirmative AND negative Ud./Uds. commands use the yo stem of the verb in the present tense and add the subjunctive Ud./Uds. endings.

Hable Ud. por favor. (Speak, please.)

No coman Uds. todavía. (Don’t eat yet.)

Tenga Ud. un buen dia. (Have a good day)

No pongan sus abrigos allí. (Don’t put your coats there.)

5. The regular affirmative AND negative nosotros/as commands use the nosotros/as subjunctive endings.


Hablemos ahora. (Let’s speak now.)

No comamos todavía. (Let’s not eat yet.)

6. The irregular affirmative AND negative nosotros/as commands are almost all formed by using the yo stem of the verb and the nosotros/as subjunctive endings.


Salgamos ahora. (Let’s go out now.)

No digamos más. (Let’s not say more.)

7. Regular affirmative vosotros/as commands (used in Spain) use the infinitive form of the verb to start, exchange the “r” of the “ar,” “er,” or “ir” with the letter “d.” Stem and spelling changes for other commands do not apply.


Vos hablad lentamente por favor. (Addressing a group: Speak slowly please.)

8. Regular AND irregular negative vosotros/as commands use the present subjunctive vosotros/as endings.


Vos no comáis ahora. (Don’t eat now.)

No digáis nada. (Don’t say anything.)

Bonus Lesson: Using Pronouns with commands

Commands in Spanish, as in English, often use objective pronouns. The objective pronouns are me, nos (me and us); te, os (you and you plural), lo, los (him, it [masc.], and them), la, las (her, it [fem.] and them).

Object pronouns are attached to affirmative commands, with accents added to maintain the pronunciation of the verb. For negative commands, the object pronouns precede the command.

Some Illustrative Examples Of Object Pronouns In Command Conjugations:

Affirmative commands

A command with a noun object                             The command with a pronoun object

Compre Ud. la casa. (Buy the house)                  *Cómprela Ud. (Buy it.)

Traiga Ud. las cartas. (Bring the letters)              *Tráigalas Ud. (Bring them.)

*The accent mark preserves the syllable stress required for the proper pronunciation of the verb form.

Negative commands                                                       

A command with a noun object                                     The command with a pronoun object

No compre Ud. el abrigo. (Don’t buy the coat)              No lo compre. (Don’t buy it.)

No Traiga Ud. las cartas. (Don’t bring the letters)        No las traiga. (Don’t bring them.)

Then there are the reflexive pronouns (me, se, te, nos, and os), which will be discussed in detail in our blog on reflexive verbs.

The best way to retain everything we presented in this blog is with guided practice. The best guided practice is available from Anna Latorre, your online tutor. Book a lesson today and start improving your Spanish in the comfort of your own home.

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