Spanish Informal Commands


 commands are the singular form of informal commands. You can use affirmative  commands to tell a friend, family member the same age as you or younger, classmate, child, or pet to do something. To tell somebody not to do something, you would use a negative tú command.

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There are several different types of commands in Spanish: Affirmative and negative; formal commands, and informal commands. We will concentrate on these in this lesson.

Informal Singular

commands: The singular informal way to say this command is used when you want to speak to a friend, colleague, someone younger than you, or a child. For example:

Compra la ropa/ Buy the clothes.

Lava el carro / Wash the car

To tell someone not to do something, you would use the command negative.

No compres la ropa/ Do not buy the clothes

No laves el carro / Do not wash the car

This lesson will show the commands in all its forms. The most common way to give commands is to use the word “tú” when you give orders, however you do not use the word “tú” itself because it is implied. “Cómprate (tú) la ropa.” “Buy the clothes. We do not include the word “tú” in our speech or when we write the command: “Cómprate la ropa.”

Formal Singular

commands in the formal singular are used when you speak to a person much older than you, a teacher, a person in authority, or simply someone who is older than you who you may respect and you do not know very well. To use this form, you will change the vowel at the end of the verb from “a” to “e” in most cases.

Informal                                                             Formal

Cómpra los libros / Buy the books                 Cómpre los libros / Buy the books

Cómpra (Tú) los libros                                   Cómpre (usted) los libros

When you use formal commands you imply the word “usted,” which is used in this form to give commands to elderly people, and people much older than you as a sign of respect.

 Negative Tú Commands

No compres los libros.                   No compre los libros No compres los libros.                       No compre los libros


Notice how in the singular formal command you will omit the “s” at the end of the word “comprar.”

In the case of regular verbs, you will use the form of third person singular to form a (tú)

command. Regular verbs end in “er,” “ir,” or “ar,” and you will look at the stem or root of the word if you eliminate these endings.

VerbInformal Command              Formal Command                
Escribir To write                            Escribe (Tú) la carta       Write the letter                               Escriba (usted)la carta Write the letter

In this case, you are changing the ending “e” from the verb, to an “a” to form the formal command. Remember that the word (Tú) and (usted) are implied and are silent.

Tener   –   To have –   Ten (conjugation for informal command in third person) Venir     –   To come –   Ven ( informal command) Ven conmigo / Come with me Hacer   –   To do     –     Haz ( informal command) Haz tu cama / Make your bed Poner   –   To put   –     Pon (informal command) Pon la mesa / Set the table Salir     –     To go out- Sal (informal command) Sal del cuarto / Go out of the room
  Tener     to have   – Tenga (formal command) Tenga la propina / Have your tip Venir   – To come – Vaya (formal command) Vaya usted / You go ahead Hacer – To do     –   Haga (formal command) Haga un pastel / Make a cake Poner – To put   –   Ponga (formal command) Ponga la mesa / Set the table Salir     – To go out   Salga (formal command) Salga de mi casa / Go out of my house

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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:

Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

Specific Capabilities at this Level

I can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings. I can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering my name, nationality and address on a hotel registration form.
Spoken Production:
I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where I live and people I know.
Spoken Interaction:
I can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what I’m trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.
I can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogues.
I can recognize familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.