If you want to give orders or tell someone what to do in Italian, then you’ll need to know the imperative tense. It can also be used to give advice, reprimand someone or urge someone to do something. There is only one tense, and we’ll look at imperatives in an informal context: tu and voi. 

 

For -are verbs, you use the lui / lei version for a singular imperative:

 

Canta!- Sing!

Mangia!- Eat!

Parla!- Speak!

 

For -ire and -ere verbs, you use the tuversion for a singular imperative:

 

Dormi!- Sleep!

Finisci!- Finish!

Credi!- Believe!

 

If you’d like to give an order to a group of people, you would use the plural imperative, which is the same as the voiversion of -are, -ere and -ire verbs:

 

Cantate!- Sing!

Credete!- Believe!

Dormite!- Sleep!

 

To give a negative instruction you put nonbefore the verb, followed by the infinitive in the singular:

 

Non sgridare!- Don’t shout!

Non piangere!- Don’t cry!

Non partire!- Don’t leave!

 

If the negative order is to a group of people, you use nonfollowed by the voiform of the present tense verb:

 

Non guardate!- Don’t look

Non scrivete!- Don’t write!

Non aprite la finestra!- Don’t open the window!

 

 

If the verb you are using is reflexive, you need to add the personal pronoun at the end:

 

Siediti!- Sit down! (singular)

Alzati!- Get up! (singular)

Calmatevi!- Calm down! (plural)

Spostatevi!- Move! (plural)

 

Direct pronouns are also added to the end of the word:

 

Leggi il giornale!(read the newspaper!) becomes leggilo! (read it!)

Mangia la banana!(eat the banana!) becomes mangiala! (eat it!)

 

 

Some verbs have an irregular imperative form, see below:

 

Essere

Sii (tu)

Siate (voi)

 

Avere

Abbi (tu)

Abbiate (voi)

 

Sapere

Sappi (tu)

Sappiate (voi)

 

Dire

Di’ (tu)

Dite (voi)

 

Some other verbs have an irregular singular form, like dire. However, these verbs also have a regular form you can use:

 

Andare

Vai / va’ (tu)

 

Dare

Dai / da’ (tu)

 

Fare

Fai / fa’ (tu)

 

Stare

Stai / sta’ (tu)

 

If putting a pronoun at the end of these irregular forms, you may need to add an extra letter:

 

Dammi le chiavi!- Give me the keys!

Fammi sapere!- Let me know!

Di’ il tuo problema a Marina!(Tell Marina your problem!) becomes Dillo a Marina! (Tell it to Marina!)

 

 

The equivalent of ‘let’s’ can be translated with the noiversion of the verb:

Andiamo!- Let’s go!

Balliamo!- Let’s dance!

 

If you’d like to soften your instructions or make your imperative polite, don’t forget to add a please! You can use any of these:

Per favore

Per cortesia

Per piacere

 

Here are some imperatives for you to translate:

 

Vieni qui! ________________________

Smettila! ________________________

Sbrighiamoci! ________________________

Aspetta! ________________________