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Imperative Mood

Imperative Mood

The French imperative mood (l’impératif) is used for giving orders, suggestions and advice. The imperative is made from the forms of tu, nous and vous in the present indicative, but without the subject pronouns. For regular -er verbs, the -s is dropped in the -tu form. For example, “Mange!” (eat!).

French Imperative Mood

What is the French imperative mood?

Imperative conjugations for regular verbs and aller

The following table shows the French imperative forms for regular-er, -ir and -re verbs, ouvrir (to open) and aller (to go).

PARLER TO SPEAK
parle!
parlons!
parlez!
speak!
let's speak!
speak!
ne parle pas!
ne parlons pas!
ne parlez pas!
don't speak!
let's not speak!
don't speak!
FINIR TO FINISH
finis!
finissons!
finissez!
finish!
let's finish!
finish!
ne finis pas!
ne finissons pas!
ne finissez pas!
don't finish!
let's not finish!
don't finish!
VENDRE TO SELL
vends!
vendons!
vendez!
sell!
let's sell!
sell!
ne vends pas!
ne vendons pas!
ne vendez pas!
don't sell!
let's not sell!
don't sell!
OUVRIR TO OPEN
ouvre!
ouvrons!
ouvrez!
open!
let's open!
open!
n'ouvre pas!
n'ouvrons pas!
n'ourez pas!
don't open!
let's not open!
don't open!
ALLER TO GO
va!
allons!
allez!
go!
let's go!
go!
ne va pas!
n'allons pas!
n'allez pas!
don't go!
let's not go!
don't go!

Imperative example sentences

  • Prends un taxi! Take a taxi.
  • Partez avant midi! Leave before noon!
  • Faites quelque chose! Do something!
  • Allons en France! Let’s go to France!
  • Sortons ce soir! Let’ go out tonight.
French imperative example
French imperative example

Imperative forms for être, avoir and savoir

The imperative forms or être (to be), avoir (to have) and savoir (to know) are irregular. Note these forms are actually the same as their respective subjunctive conjugations.

ÊTRE TO BE
sois!
soyons!
soyez!
be!
let's be!
be!
AVOIR TO HAVE
aie!
ayons!
ayez!
have!
let's have!
have!
SAVOIR
sache!
sachons!
sachez!
know!
let's know!
know!

French imperative negative forms

In affirmative commands an object pronoun follows the imperative with a hyphen and the stressed pronouns moi, toi and nous are used. In negative commands me, te and nous precede the verb.

attends-moi! wait for me! ne m'attends pas!don't wait for me!
donne-moigive me!ne me donne pas!don't give me!
aidons-noushelp us! ne nous aidons pas!don't help us!
prêtez-moi!lend me!ne me prêtez pas!don't let me!
French imperative example
French imperative example

Reflexive verbs in the imperative

For reflexive verbs the same system is used. Stressed pronouns follow the verbs with a hyphen in affirmative commands and me, te and nous precede the verbs in negative commands.

SE LEVER TO GET UP
lève-toi!
levons-nous!
levez-vous!
get up!
let's get up!
get up!
ne te lève pas!
ne nous levons pas!
ne vous levez pas!
don't get up!
let's not get up!
don't get up!
SE COUCHER TO TO BED
couche-toi!
couchons-nous!
couchez-vous!
go to bed!
let's go to bed!
go to bed!
ne te couche pas!
ne nous couchons pas!
ne vous couchez pas!
don't go to bed!
let's not go to bed!
go to bed!
SE MARIER TO GET MARRIED
marie-toi!
marions-nous!
mariez-vous!
get maried!
let's get maried!
get maried!
ne te marie pas!
ne nous marions pas!
ne vous mariez pas!
don't get maried!
let's not get maried!
get maried!

Situations were the -s is maintained in the tu form

For commands followed by y and en keep the -s in the tu form for regular -er verbs, -ir verbs conjugated like -er verbs and aller (to go). The -s is maintained to create a liaison effect.

  • Vas-y! go!
  • Manges-en! Eat some!
  • Penses-y! Think about it!
  • Profites-en! Have a good time!
  • Ouvres-en! Open some!
  • Achètes-en! Buy some!

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David Issokson
David Issokson is a lifelong language learner and speaks over seven languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private lessons. When not teaching or writing his French Word of the Day lessons, David enjoys his time skiing, hiking and mountain biking in Victor, Idaho.

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language learner and speaks over seven languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private lessons. When not teaching or writing his French Word of the Day lessons, David enjoys his time skiing, hiking and mountain biking in Victor, Idaho.

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