Italian Imperative Mode

The imperative mode is used to order or command. Since it is equivalent to giving orders, it does not have the first and third singular persons – io, lui, lei.

Modo Imperativo | (Imperative Mode)

The imperative mode only has one tense and is formed by replacing the ending of the infinitive with the endings of the imperative.

  • Guarda! – (Look!)
  • Leggete qua! – (Read here [you all]!)

In Italian, verbs can be divided into three categories based on the ending of the infinitive present: -are-ere-ire.

  • Verbs ending with are(mangiare -> to eat)
  • Verbs ending with ere – (leggereto read)
  • Verbs ending with -ire – (partire -> to sleep)

Since there are different categories of Italian verbs (-are, -ere, and -ire), the imperative form must use the corresponding ending based on which category the verb belongs to.

Imperative – Ascoltare, Leggere, Sentire

PronounAscolt-are (to listen)Legg-ere (to read)Sent-ire (to hear)
(you – singular)

ascolt-a! (listen!)

non ascoltare! (don’t listen!)

legg-i! (read!)

non leggere! (don’t read!)

sent-i! (hear!)

non sentire! (don’t hear!)

(You – formal)
(you – plural)

Other things to keep in mind:

  • When using the negative form, the second singular person uses non + infinitive
  • When using the first and second persons, the pronouns can be attached to at the end of the verb:
    • Portami [porta a me] il quaderno – (Bring me the notebook)
    • Leggimelo [leggi + a me + quello] – (Read it to me)
  • When using with Lei or Loro in a formal sentence, the pronoun always stays in front of the verb:
    • Scusi, mi perdoni!
Irregular Verbs
Verbs that are irregular in a tense might not be irregular in other tenses and viceversa. To aid you in your learning we have listed some of the main irregular verbs in the imperative mode. Some verbs are irregular as they completely change the stem, have contractions or both:
  • Andare
  • Avere
  • Dare
  • Dimenticare
  • Dire
  • Essere
  • Fare
  • Pagare
  • Rimanere
  • Stare
  • Tenere
  • Venire
Luckily, online there are many websites that automatically conjugate verbs for you, so you can look up how irregular verbs conjugate. A website we highly recommend is Sapere:Virgilio.

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