Giving orders and instructions II: Italian grammar lesson 124

Summary

Master the art of Italian commands with this guide! Learn the seamless way to attach pronouns to imperatives, creating fluid, native-like sentences. Perfect for bossing around in style or just sounding like a pro. 😉

  • Stick ’em together: In Italian, pronouns cozy up to the imperative verb, merging into one snappy word. Say “Rispondimi!” instead of “Answer me!” to sound like a local.
  • Order matters: When juggling two pronouns, remember indirect objects play first fiddle. “Passamelo” means “Pass it to me” – not the other way around!
  • Morph those pronouns: Some pronouns are shapeshifters. “Mi“, “ti“, “ci“, and “vi” transform when they’re leading the pronoun pack. Get ready for some pronoun gymnastics!
  • Double consonants for emphasis: Got a one-syllable command? Beef it up with double consonants. “” becomes “Dimmi” – because sometimes, more is more.
  • Formal flair: When you’re keeping it classy with “Lei“, pronouns stay independent. They precede the verb, maintaining a respectful distance. “Please, mi dica,” not “dicami.”
  • Practice makes perfect: Dive into examples to get the hang of it. Whether you’re ordering potatoes or sending videos, knowing your pronouns will make you sound like a true Italian!

My thoughts

How to use the Imperative with -mi, -ti, -lo, -li?

In English, pronouns always come after an imperative. For example: “Look at me!” or “Give it to me”.

In Italian, they also come after the verb, but here the pronouns attach to the verb to form one word.

Rispondimi!

Answer me!

Siediti, per favore.

(You) Sit down, please.

Provalo!

(You) Try it!

Aspettateli!

Wait for them!

What are the rules for using imperative with pronouns?

In the examples above, as you could saw, one pronoun is attached to the end of the imperative of the verb to form one word.

The same also happens when we need to use two pronouns after the verb: we will then join the verb with both pronouns, forming a single word.

In Italian, indirect object pronouns always come before direct object pronouns.

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So, when the indirect object pronouns mi, ti, ci, and vi come before another pronoun, they become me-, te-, ce- and ve-, while li and le become glie-. Have a look at the examples below.

Passamelo.

Pass it to me.

Mandaglieli.

Send them to him/her/them.

Mettitelo.

Put it on (yourself).

Another thing to remember is that when the imperative form of the verb consists only of one syllable, the pronoun mi becomes mmi, ti becomes tti, and lo becomes llo.

Dimmi!

Tell me!

Fallo!

Do it!

Fatti i fatti tuoi!

(You) mind your own business!

When we use the imperative in the Lei form, which is the formal you, the pronouns come before the verb and do not join it to form a single word:

Mi dica.

Tell me.

Glielo faccia vedere.

Show it to her/him.

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

Imperative with pronouns: examples

Have a look at some more examples of how to use the imperative mood with direct and indirect object pronouns.

Mi dia un chilo di patate, per favore.

Give me a kilo of potatoes, please.

Non hai ancora mandato il video a Roberta? Mandaglielo subito!

You haven’t sent the video to Roberta yet? Send it to her straight away!

Eva ti sta chiamando, rispondile!

Eva’s calling you, answer her!

What is the imperative tense in Italian?

The Italian Imperative, or "Imperativo", is the grammatical mood used to express orders, instructions or advice in Italian. It is used to demand that someone take action, as well as to impart encouragement, advice and warnings. While the Imperative can be used to convey a sense of urgency, it is also capable of expressing more subtle tones such as suggestion and entreaty.

What are the rules for imperative in Italian?

In order to form the imperative of regular verbs in Italian, you must add specific endings to the stem of the verb. To obtain the stem, you must remove the -are, -ere, or -ire endings from the infinitive form of the verb.

Italian word of the day
lavori
Example
Dove lavori? Lavoro in ufficio.
Where do you work? I work in an office.
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8 Responses

  1. Hi Julieta
     
    Thank you for trying. Afraid I am still confused. My problem is this. if grammar rules state that guardatelo = 2nd person plural, then surely scordatelo also = 2nd person plural (but you have told me that this is not the case)! My confusion revolves round the following : why does guardatelo= 2nd person plural (guardate-lo) but scordatelo = 2nd person singular (scorda-te-lo)?
    Thanks

    1. Ciao @morton-lim!

      With the verb scordare the same rules apply. Scordalo = second person singular and Scordatelo = second person plural. But in every day and colloquial language, you can find Scordatelo used with second person singular and Scordatevelo with second person plural. That’s why I gave you that answer. You always need to pay attention to the context and find who the subject in the sentence is. 

       

      I hope it’s a little bit more clear but if not, let me know. 

    2. @julieta 
      È un po difficile per i poveri stranieri – no? Fondamentalmente mi stai dicendo che scordatelo e guardatelo possono essere sia 2nd persone singolare che 2nd persone plurale!

    3. Ciao @morton-lim!

      Si, alcune regole grammaticali sono difficili perché non sempre sono uguali e seguono un unico modello. Di solito in alcuni casi ci sono più strappi alle regole che regole compiute. 

      Nel caso del tuo dubbio la chiave è guardare chi è il soggetto che compie l’azione. E anche avere in testa se è una conversazione colloquiale o formale. 

       

      Fammi sapere se hai bisogno di esercizi in più o altri esempi pratici.

    1. Ciao @morton-lim!

      I noticed there are still doubts regarding “Guardatelo = 2nd person (voi) but scordatelo = scorda-te-lo (2nd person informal single)!” so I will try to explain it better. 

      According to grammar rules, Guardalo = second person singular and Guardatelo = second person plural. But in everyday conversations, you can find Guardatelo used for second person singular and Guardatevelo as second person plural. 

      Please let me know if this subject is clearer or not. 

  2. Can you please help me with the following. Does
    scordatela = scorda (2nd person singular informal) – te – la
    or
    scordatela = scordate (2nd person plural) – la?
    If it = 2nd person plural, should it not be 
    scordate-ve-la?
    Thank you 

    1. Ciao @morton-lim!

      Scordatela is formed by the verb scordare, the person tu (you singular) that becomes te, and the pronoun la (her). 

      And you’re right:  Scordatevela is used for the second person plural (voi). 

       

      Please let me know if your question was answer or not. 

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