The imperative in Italian
In case you don’t know (or don’t remember), we use the imperative when we want to give orders and instructions.
Here are some examples in English:
- Sit down!
- Come back!
- Open the door.
If you need to review the imperative, have a look at our lesson about giving orders and instructions.
In today’s lesson, we’re going to focus on the formal imperative with pronouns.
Here’s an example for you to start getting familiarized with it:
Me li porti in camera.
Bring them to me in my room.
The formal imperative in Italian
We use the formal imperative when we’re addressing someone older, someone we don’t know very well, or someone in a formal context.
Here are the endings for the formal imperative:
- Verbs in -are: -i
- Verbs in -ere: -a
- Verbs in -ire: -a or -isca
Here are the endings of some irregular verbs for the formal imperative:
- Dare (to give): dia
- Dire (to say): dica
- Fare (to do): faccia
And here are some short examples in the formal imperative:
Prenda questo quaderno.
Take this notebook.
Beva questa caffè.
Drink this coffee.
Pronouns are short words such as me, him, it, us, and them.
In Italian, we have direct and indirect object pronouns.
Here is an example with a direct object pronoun to see what we mean:
Non trovo le mie chiavi. Tu le hai viste?
I cannot find my keys. Have you seen them?
Here is an example with an indirect object pronoun:
And here is an example with both pronouns:
Quello è il mio libro. Me lo puoi dare?
That’s my book. Can you give it to me?
Direct object pronouns with the formal imperative
Here’s a table with direct object pronouns:
|lo||him or it (referring to a masculine singular noun)|
|la||her or it (referring to a feminine singular noun)|
|li||them (referring to a masculine plural noun)|
|le||them (referring to a feminine plural noun)|
Here are some examples with direct object pronouns with the formal imperative:
Lo faccia subito.
Do it straight away.
La chiami adesso.
Call her now.
As you can see, we place the direct object pronoun BEFORE the formal imperative.
Indirect object pronouns with the formal imperative
Here’s a table with the indirect object pronouns that we use with the formal imperative.
|si||(to) yourself (formal)|
Here are some examples with indirect object pronouns in the formal imperative:
Mi dica tutto.
Tell me everything.
Per piacere, gli dica che non ci sono.
Please, tell him I’m not here.
Take a seat.
Again, we place the indirect object pronoun BEFORE the formal imperative.
Practice with QuizletHere's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.
Direct and indirect object pronouns with the formal imperative
Here’s a summary of the combination of both direct and indirect object pronouns:
|mi||me lo||me la||me li||me le|
|ci||ce lo||ce la||ce li||ce le|
Let’s have a look at some examples:
Glielo dia subito.
Give it to him/her straight away.
Ce lo faccia sapere il prima possibile.
Let us know as soon as possible.
Per piacere, me la porti a casa.
Please, bring it to me at my house.
Needless to say, again, we place the combination of both pronouns BEFORE the formal imperative.
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