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tex's french grammar
imperative mood
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1. formation
  2. irregular imperatives
  3. imperative of pronomial verbs
  4. negative commands
  5. pronoun object with imperatives


The imperative, (l'impératif in French) is used to give commands, orders, or express wishes, like 'Stop!', 'Listen!' You may recognize the imperative from commands such as 'Ecoutez' or 'Répétez'. It is one of four moods in the French language. Unlike the other moods, the imperative is not divided into tenses. Keep in mind that the imperative is a very direct way to give an order. It is often replaced with more polite alternatives like the conditional.

formation
There are three forms of the imperative: tu, nous and vous. For all verbs, the imperative is formed by taking the corresponding forms of the present indicative, but without subject pronouns. The lack of a subject pronoun is what identifies the imperative mood.

audio
finir  'to finish'
present imperative translation
tu finis finis finish (you, familiar)
nous finissons finissons let's finish
vous finissez finissez finish


The tu form is used to give an order to a child or when the speaker is on familiar terms with the person addressed. The vous form is used to give an order to a group of people or to address one person in the vous form. The nous form is used to give an order that involves oneself as well as others, though it often expresses a suggestion as its translation (Let's ... ) indicates.

Drop the final s in the tu forms of the imperative for -er verbs, including aller, and -ir verbs like ouvrir and other verbs whose present indicative form of tu ends in -es:

present imperative translation
tu regardes regarde look
tu ouvres ouvre open
tu vas va go


When these forms are followed by the pronoun y or en, the -s is reattached for pronunciation purposes. For example:

audio
Corey: Bette, va au supermarché! Vas-y! Et achète de l'insecticide pour moi ... Tu m'entends? Achètes-en pour moi!   Corey: Bette, go to the supermarket! Go there! And buy some insecticide for me ... Do you hear me? Buy some for me!
Bette: Imbécile, l'insecticide est dangereux pour les cafards! Paf!   Bette: Imbecile, insecticide is dangerous for cockroaches! Pow!
Corey: Oh, Bette ... aide-moi à me relever, s'il te plaît.   Corey: Oh, Bette, help me back up, please.
Bette: Tu es vraiment trop bête. Je m'en vais.   Bette: You are really too stupid. I'm leaving.


irregular imperatives
There are several verbs that have irregular imperative forms.

audio
avoir être savoir vouloir
aie sois sache veuille
ayons soyons sachons veuillons
ayez soyez sachez veuillez


imperative of pronominal verbs
For pronominal verbs, the subject pronoun is dropped and the object pronoun is placed after the verb and is attached with a hyphen. Te becomes toi in this situation.

audio
se souvenir  'to remember'
present imperative translation
tu te souviens souviens-toi remember
nous nous souvenons souvenons-nous let's remember
vous vous souvenez souvenez-vous remember


negative commands
The forms of the affirmative imperative (an order to do something) have been presented in the above charts. In negative commands (an order not to do something), place the ne ... pas around the imperative, as in Ne regarde pas ('Don't look'). In negative commands for reflexive verbs, the object pronoun is placed in front of the verb.

audio
Corey: Ne te moque pas de moi!   Corey: Don't make fun of me!
Joe-Bob: Ne nous moquons pas de Corey!   Joe-Bob: Let's not make fun of Corey!
ne te moque pas de moi!


pronoun object with imperatives
Other non-pronominal pronoun objects follow the same placement as objects of pronominal verbs. As usual, the subject pronoun is dropped. In the negative, the ne precedes the object pronoun and the verb. In the affirmative imperative, the pronoun object follows the verb, and the forms moi and toi replace me and te.
audio
Corey: Aidez-moi, aidez-moi! Je n'arrive pas à me relever.   Corey: Help me, help me! I can't get back up.
Joe-Bob: Retournons-le! Allez, un, deux, trois ... Doucement, doucement. Ne le faites pas trop vite!   Joe-Bob: Let's turn him. Let's go, one, two, three ... Slowly, slowly. Don't do it too fast!


Listen to the following dialogue:

audio
Corey: Merci, tout le monde. Ça va beaucoup mieux. Allons à Barton Springs cet après-midi.   Corey: Thanks, everybody. That's much better. Let's go to Barton Springs this afternoon.
Joe-Bob: D'accord, mais écoute, d'abord je dois mettre mon maillot.   Tammy: Okay, but listen, first I have to put on my swimsuit.
Corey: Oui, bien sûr, mais dépêche-toi.   Tex: Yes, of course, but hurry.
Joe-Bob: J'arrive. N'oublions pas l'insecticide. Il y a tant d'insectes empoisonnants en ce moment!   Joe-Bob: I'm coming. Let's not forget the insecticide. There are so many irritating insects now.
Corey: Eh moi alors?   Corey: And me?
Joe-Bob: Oh, pas toi, Corey. Tu n'es jamais empoisonnant!   Joe-Bob: Oh, not you, Corey. You are never irritating!

texercises

fill in the blanks
Fill in the blank with the imperative form of the verb between parentheses.
1. Tex : ___________ Tammy! On étaient si heureux à Lyon! (se rappeler)


2. Tammy : Tex, _________ tes légumes! (finir)


3. Tex : ____________ de nous disputer! (arrêter)


4. Tammy : _____________ prétentieux, Tex! (ne pas être)


5. Tex et Tammy : ___________ rester modestes! (savoir)


6. Tammy : _________ chez le coiffeur Tex! (aller)


7. Tammy : Tu as envie d'aller chez Bette, Tex? _________-y! (aller)


8. Tammy : J'achète du vin? Tex : Oui,___________-en plusieurs bouteilles! (acheter)


9. Tammy : Ta maison n'est pas propre Tex! ___________ tes affaires! (ranger)


10. Tammy : Edouard, Corey, _____________ ! Vous allez être en retard! (se dépêcher)


11. Tex : Edouard, Corey, ceci est secret! _____________ à Tammy! (ne pas parler)


12. Tex : Chers amis, ___________ tous à mon anniversaire! (venir)