Conjugate regular verbs in L'Impératif (imperative)

L'Impératif - the Imperative mood - is used to express commands, instructions and advice.

e.g. "Give me this!", "Listen carefully!"

Now look at these sentences in L'Impératif Présent:

Finis tes devoirs !
Finish your homework!

Finissons nos devoirs !
Let's finish our homework!

Finissez vos devoirs !
Finish your homework!

Viens au rendez-vous!
Come to the rendez-vous!

Choisis un endroit exceptionnel!
Choose an outstanding location!

Prenez vos manteaux, il fait froid dehors !
Take your coats, it's cold outside!

Réfléchissons une minute !
Let's just think for a minute !


In French, L'Impératif has three main characteristics:

  1. There are only 3 persons in L'Impératif: tu, nous, vous since you only issue commands to 'you' or 'us/we'.
  2. Like in English, the subject pronoun is dropped in L'Impératif.
  3. The verb is at the same form as in Le Présent for tu, nous and vous:

Tu finis ta soupe. Finis ta soupe !
You're finishing your soup. Finish your soup.

 

ATTENTION: Case of -ER verbs

Tu manges ton dessert. Mange ton dessert !
You're eating your dessert. Eat your dessert!

Note that for all verbs ending in -ER (including aller), the -s is dropped at the end of the tu form.
The other forms (nous and vous) are regular.

Here are more -ER examples:

Donne-lui quelque chose !
Give him something!


Donnons une sucette à Paula !
Let's give Paula a lollipop!


Donnez-moi un baiser !
Give me a kiss!


Va au lit !
Go to bed!


Surveille ton frère !
Keep an eye on your brother!


Allons au parc !
Let's go to the park!

And the more advanced: 
Using "y" with affirmative commands (L'Impératif)
Using "en" with affirmative commands (L'Impératif)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Va au lit !
Go to bed!



Donnez-moi un baiser !
Give me a kiss!


Tu finis ta soupe. Finis ta soupe !
You're finishing your soup. Finish your soup.


Tu manges ton dessert. Mange ton dessert !
You're eating your dessert. Eat your dessert!


Donnons une sucette à Paula !
Let's give Paula a lollipop!


Mets des sous-vêtements propres!
Juste au cas où...bonjour les traces de pneu!

Put on clean underwear!
Just in case... hellooo skid marks!


Réfléchissons une minute !
Let's just think for a minute !


Finissons nos devoirs !
Let's finish our homework!


Pensez à prendre du pain !
Think of getting some bread!


Viens au rendez-vous!
Come to the rendez-vous!


Prenez vos manteaux, il fait froid dehors !
Take your coats, it's cold outside!


Finis tes devoirs !
Finish your homework!


Allons au parc !
Let's go to the park!


Choisis un endroit exceptionnel!
Choose an outstanding location!


Donne-lui quelque chose !
Give him something!


Finissez vos devoirs !
Finish your homework!


Surveille ton frère !
Keep an eye on your brother!


Q&A Forum 9 questions, 21 answers

YokoA2Kwiziq community member

Upper case letters with accents

Hi there,

I just did one test and I got a half score because I dropped an accent from an upper case É. I learnt that you don't put accents on upper case letters somewhere before. What is the correct way? 

Thanks,


Asked 3 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Frequently, accents are omitted with upper case letters. The académie française, however, advises to use them. Take your pick -- you'll see both versions.

Upper case letters with accents

Hi there,

I just did one test and I got a half score because I dropped an accent from an upper case É. I learnt that you don't put accents on upper case letters somewhere before. What is the correct way? 

Thanks,


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MichaelB1Kwiziq community member

Future active indicative as imperative

In Latin and English a future active indicative sometimes acts as an imperative command, like "Thou shalt not steal." I'm curious if there is any parallel to this in French? Thank you!

Asked 3 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Michael,

‘Thou shalt not steal ‘ as one of the ten commandments is -

‘Tu ne commettras pas de vol‘ 

and the future indicative is used too,  it looks as it is the same in French...

Hope this helps 

Future active indicative as imperative

In Latin and English a future active indicative sometimes acts as an imperative command, like "Thou shalt not steal." I'm curious if there is any parallel to this in French? Thank you!

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PaulineB1Kwiziq community member

Is there any reason or sense behind the rule "Note that for all verbs ending in -ER (including aller), the -s is dropped at the end of the tu form."

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Pauline, 

No rhyme or reason it's just the way it is ....

Is there any reason or sense behind the rule "Note that for all verbs ending in -ER (including aller), the -s is dropped at the end of the tu form."

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PaulineB1Kwiziq community member

Note that for all verbs ending in -ER (including aller), the -s is dropped at the end of the tu form.

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team member
already answered Pauline...

Note that for all verbs ending in -ER (including aller), the -s is dropped at the end of the tu form.

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JamesC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Using the subjunctive in the imperative

When would the subjunctive be used in the imperative form?

Vive La France! is the expression that comes to mind.

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi James,

In the expression 'Vive la France' or 'Que vive la France!', vive is the subjunctive of the verb vivre

The imperative would be - vis, vivons, vivez , as in 

Vis ta vie !  = Live your life!

Vivons au jour le jour! = Let's live one day at a time!

Vivez pour le moment! Live for the moment!

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
The sentence "Vive la France" is, strictly speaking, not an imperative, as Cécile noted. It is a wish and hence requires the subjunctive and not the imperative. 
JamesC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thank You. I read it as being imperative, telling France to live-in times of conflict or difficulty.
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Understandably so. But actually it means, "may France live" or "let France live".

Using the subjunctive in the imperative

When would the subjunctive be used in the imperative form?

Vive La France! is the expression that comes to mind.

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GA2Kwiziq community member

Vas-y

Vous avez dit que pour les verbes 'er', ils perdent la 's', mais j'entends tout le temps 'vas-y'. C'est une erreur, ou c'est quelque chose de normal? Merci
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
The lesson is about regulat verbes. However, aller is irregular. It has vas in second person singular. 
AaronC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Chris and G, "aller" is irregular, but that's not the reason for the "s" in "vas-y". The reason is that "va(s)" precedes the vowel "y". The "s" is kept for euphony. Otherwise the imperative of "aller" in the second person is "va". ("Va-t'en" is an example. Note that this "t" isn't the euphonic "t". It's an actual pronoun, a contraction of "toi".)

It's the same for all "-er" verbs, including "aller". The "tu" form of the imperative keeps the "s" of the normal indicative form in front of "y" or "en", so we get "vas-y", "manges-en", etc.

AaronC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

(If you look back up at the lesson, it has "Va au lit !" as an example. Note that only "y" and "en" put the "s" back on the tu-imperative of "-er" verbs, and not just any word starting with a vowel.)

Vas-y

Vous avez dit que pour les verbes 'er', ils perdent la 's', mais j'entends tout le temps 'vas-y'. C'est une erreur, ou c'est quelque chose de normal? Merci

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DiwansiKwiziq community member

IL faut être sérieux


Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Yes, I concur. Did you have a question?

-- Chris. 

IL faut être sérieux


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EileenA2Kwiziq community member

'Let's finish'/'Finish!'

So if 'let's finish our homework' is 'finissons nos devoirs', what would 'finish our homework!' be? (As in you're telling else to do it) Merci!
Asked 2 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Eileen,

Finish our homework! ,would be

Finis/finnissez nos devoirs!

Nettoie/nettoyez nos chaussures! Clean our shoes!

Hope this helps!

RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Eileen, Alors, la réponse correcte est dans la même leçon, voila les exemples: Finis tes devoirs ! --> Finish your homework! Finissez vos devoirs ! --> Finish your homework! J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait. Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet
EileenA2Kwiziq community member
Merci Ron, but I was asking what 'finish our homework' would be, not 'finish your homework'. If 'donne-nous' means 'give us' (as stated in an example), then how would you command someone to 'finish our homework'? Would it be 'finis-nos' rather than 'finissons nos'?
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour à nouveau Eileen, Je m'excuse ! In order to give a good response, let's take at look at the verb «aller» in the impératif : If I say to someone, «let's go» then the impératif phrase is «Allons-y» which uses the first person plural. By the same logic «let's finish our homework» again I would be speaking to someone like a study partner, perhaps. Using the first person plural of «finir» gives us «finissons», so using the phrase «let's finish our homework», we would have «Finissons nos devoirs». This is not a true imperative even though it would be written that way. The locuteur is merely stating that we need to finish our homework together. Perhaps the two had stopped studying to discuss going to get a bite to eat which they agree on then he states Finissons nos devoirs (let's finish our homework) puis nous pouvons aller. I hope this is clearer. Having a contextual idea at times puts things in perspective. Bonne chance !
EileenA2Kwiziq community member
Merci Ron. However, I was asking how do you command someone to do something for 'us' - e.g. a bully telling someone 'finish our homework!' Or 'clean our shoes!' (Not 'let's' do something which I think I understand).

'Let's finish'/'Finish!'

So if 'let's finish our homework' is 'finissons nos devoirs', what would 'finish our homework!' be? (As in you're telling else to do it) Merci!

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KariB2Kwiziq community member

Forms in l'impératif

Why do some verbs conjugate in the il/elle form if the lesson says there can only be tu/nous/vous? Example Donne-lui, Regarde-le etc. I am confused.
Asked 2 years ago
GruffKwiziq team member
Hi Kari,

Those examples aren't conjugated in the il/elle form but I can see that it's the verb object (as opposed to the subject) that's confusing you.

So "donne-lui" for example is really [tu] donne-lui : [you] give it to him. "lui" in that sentence has no bearing on which conjugation you use. Verbs can take any object as normal but you only give commands to other people in the secon person so you would conjugate using the tu/vous/nous forms.

Make sense?
KariB2Kwiziq community member
But isn't the (tu) donnes and (tu) regardes? Why is there no "s" on the end in l'imperatif?
GruffKwiziq team member
Hi Kari - that's explained in the lesson. "Note that for all verbs ending in -ER (including aller), the -s is dropped at the end of the tu form."
KariB2Kwiziq community member
Yep I see that now that you bave pointed it out - must have read through it too quickly and missed that completely

Forms in l'impératif

Why do some verbs conjugate in the il/elle form if the lesson says there can only be tu/nous/vous? Example Donne-lui, Regarde-le etc. I am confused.

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Getting that for you now.