German Imperative


All imperative sentences include verbs written in what is called an "imperative mood ," meaning they give commands.

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The imperative mood in German has several forms, and can be “softened” by adding flavoring particles (‘doch’ and ‘mal’) and the word ‘bitte’ (please). ‘Doch’ adds urgency to a command; ‘mal’ expresses impatience; the two combined, ‘doch mal’, is more relaxed.


Bitte, trinken Sie Wasser!                    Please, drink water!               (polite)

Trinken Sie doch Wasser!                   Do drink water!                       (urgent)

Trinken Sie mal Wasser!                      Come on and drink water!     (impatient)

Trinken Sie doch mal Wasser!            Go ahead and drink water!    (not forceful)

Below is an outline of the forms with more examples.

Forms of the Imperative

There are four forms of the imperative: Second person singular (du), second person plural (ihr), first person plural (wir) and second person formal singular and plural (Sie).

imperativ 1 jpg
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Main Exceptions for 2nd person singular:

  • If the main part of a verb ends in consonant +“m” or “n”, add an -e at the end


atmen, du atmest; Imperativ: Atme!

zeichnen, du zeichnest; Imperativ: Zeichne!


kommen, du kommst; Imperativ: Komm!

  • If the main part of a verb ends in “d” or “t”, add an -e at the end (warten; du wartest; Warte!)
  • Change from “a” to “ä” is not happening in the imperative (laufen; du läufst; Lauf!)
  • Change from “e” to “ie” is happening in the imperative (lesen; du liest; Lies!)


Räum dein Zimmer auf!                (Infinitiv: aufräumen; Präsens: du räumst auf)

Macht die Musik aus!                     (Infinitiv: ausmachen: Präsens: ihr macht aus)

Gehen Sie in das Erdgeschoss!    (Infinitiv: gehen; Präsens: Sie gehen)

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