Imperative Mood Conjugations

Conjugaisons de l’impératif

French imperative conjugations are relatively easy, as for most verbs they’re identical to their present tense conjugations – without the subject pronoun. The imperative is the only personal verb form that does not require a subject; the verb conjugation alone tells you who is being ordered to do or not to do something.

In addition, the imperative exists only for three grammatical persons instead of the normal six.

Imperative of -er verbs

All -er verbs – regular, stem-changing, and irregular – follow this pattern:

  • tu: present tense conjugation minus final s
  • nous: present tense conjugation
  • vous: present tense conjugation

Par exemple…

  donner appeler aller
(tu) donne appelle va
(nous) donnons appelons allons
(vous) donnez appelez allez

  When a tu imperative is followed by an adverbial pronoun (en or y), the final s is maintained (learn more).

Imperative of -ir and -re verbs

1) Verbs that end in –frir and –vrir, which are conjugated like -er verbs in the present tense, follow the -er pattern in the imperative as well:

Par exemple…

  offrir couvrir
(tu) offre couvre
(nous) offrons couvrons
(vous) offrez couvrez

2) With the exception of the above plus four irregular verbs, all other -ir and -re verbs – regular and irregular – use their present tense conjugations for the imperative.

Par exemple…

  choisir partir vendre boire
(tu) choisis pars vends bois
(nous) choisissons partons vendons buvons
(vous) choisissez partez vendez buvez

 Note that the tu form of these verbs keeps the "s" at the end (learn more).

Irregular imperatives

Of course, there are always some irregular verbs to keep you on your toes. The imperative has four:

  avoir être savoir vouloir
(tu) aie sois sache veuille
(nous) ayons soyons sachons n/a
(vous) ayez soyez sachez veuillez

 Related lessons

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