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Grammaire Francaise

How do you form the imperative for French verbs?

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June 23, 2012 3:43PM

The imperative is formed by taking the form of the present of the indicative, and removing the pronoun "tu", "vous" or "nous" ("you" singular, "you" plural or "we")

Present:

Tu viens - Vous venez - Nous venons ---> Viens ! Venez ! Venons !

Tu donnes - Vous donnez - Nous donnons ---> Donne ! Donnez ! Donnons !

Tu prends - Vous prenez - Nous prenons ---> Prends ! Prenez ! Prenons !

Difficulty: for first group verbs (the 'er' verbs), take out the final 's' of the 'tu' form.

I.e.: present 'Tu aimes' > imperative 'Aime !'

Same rule for the following verbs : ouvrir, offrir, souffrir, cueillir, aller et savoir.

Except if it is followed by the pronoun or adverb 'en' or 'y', for spelling reasons, you add the "s" for the "tu" form.

Example :

Va te coucher ! (Go to bed!) but Vas-y ! (Go!)

Cueille des fleurs ! (Pick some flowers!) but Cueilles-en ! (Pick some!)

Precision: Some verbs have specific forms for the imperative, such as:

Assoir - Tu t'assoies ---> Assieds-toi !

Both forms exist for the present but the usage is to use the "Tu t'assoies" form for the present and "Assieds-toi" for the imperative.

Tu t'assieds is used when the order is implied (a kind of informal imperative) : Tu t'assieds et tu te tais ! (You sit down and you shut up!).

When in doubt, search online for "conjugaison du verbe " + [verb]. See link.