Giving orders and instructions: Italian grammar lesson 123

Stefano

Italian language tutor, course author. MEng, MBA. Member of the International Association of Hyperpolyglots (HYPIA). After learning 12 languages, I can tell you that we all master languages by listening and mimicking. I couldn't find an app to recommend to my students, so I made my own one. With my method, you'll be speaking Italian from Lesson 1.

Summary

Master the art of Italian commands with this guide on the imperative form! Learn when to use it, how it differs from English, and get the hang of conjugating regular and irregular verbs to boss around in Italian like a pro.

  • Know when to command: Use the imperative in Italian to give orders, commands, or instructions. Perfect for when you need to be direct – like telling someone to “Apri la finestra!” (Open the window!).
  • Conjugation quirks: While English keeps it simple, Italian likes to mix things up. For -ERE and -IRE verbs, the tu and voi forms match the present tense, but -ARE verbs? Not so much.
  • Special treatment for tu: If you’re chatting with a friend and using tu, remember that -ARE verbs need an ‘A’ at the end. So, “Eat!” isn’t just “Mangi!” but “Mangia!”
  • Group commands and formal requests: When rallying the troops with noi or being polite with lei, switch gears to the present subjunctive. “Let’s start!” becomes “Iniziamo!” and “Come here, please” turns into “Venga qui, per favore.”
  • Irregular verbs, regular headaches: Just when you think you’ve got it, irregular verbs come to crash the party. Memorize these oddballs like “Sii” for “Be!” and “Abbi” for “Have!” to avoid slip-ups.
  • Practice makes perfect: Drill these forms into your brain with real-life scenarios. Tell your dog “Vieni qui!” (Come here!) or instruct your friends “Andate via!” (Go away!) – just maybe not too often. 😉

Giving orders in Italian: the imperative form

In English, when we give an order or we tell someone to do something, we simply use what seems to be the basic form of the verb.

From a grammatical point of view, though, we are using an imperative form. This form is used to give orders, commands, and instructions in Italian.

Apri la finestra!

Open the window!

Mangia la pasta!

Eat the pasta!

Unlike in English and other languages, in Italian, the imperative conjugation of verbs is not always the same as the simple present.

commands in Italian

The imperative: When to use

Before looking at the conjugation, though, let’s understand when we use this form in Italian.

The imperative can be used to give commands, orders, or instructions and it can be used with the pronouns tu, voi, noi, and lei (formal you).

It only exists in the present tense.

  • Command:

Fiocco, vieni qui!

Fiocco, come here!

  • Instruction:

Aprite il libro e cominciate a leggere.

Open the book and start reading.

Imperative form in Italian

The imperative: Conjugations

For the pronouns tu and voi, the conjugation is the same as the present tense for the verbs ending in –ERE and –IRE.

For verbs in ARE, the conjugation for voi is the same as the present, while it changes for tu.

In this case, we use the root of the verb + A.

Verb TU VOI
APRIRE apri aprite
CORRERE corri correte
MANGIARE mangia mangiate

On the other hand, to form an imperative for the pronouns noi and lei (formal you) we will use the congiuntivo presente (present subjunctive).

Iniziamo!

Let’s start!

Venga da questa parte, per favore.

Come this way, please.

Instructions in Italian

The imperative: Irregular verbs

As you were probably expecting, the irregular verbs have an irregular conjugation of the imperative!

Have a look at the table below to learn the imperative form of some of the most commonly used Italian verbs.

Verb TU VOI
ESSERE Sii Siate
AVERE Abbi Abbiate
SAPERE Sappi Sappiate
DARE Da’ / Dai Date
FARE Fa’ / Fai Fate
STARE Sta’ / Stai State
ANDARE Va’ / Vai Andate
DIRE Di’ Dite
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Giving Orders Italian

The imperative: Examples

Here are some more examples of how to use the imperative form in Italian.

Prendi il treno per andare a scuola, l’autobus è molto lento!

Take the train to go to school, the bus is very slow!

Per favore, andate via, voglio stare solo.

Please, go away, I want to be alone.

Sappi che non ti ho mai detto bugie.

Know that I never told you lies.

Abbiate il coraggio di ammetterlo!

Have the courage to admit it!

Practice with Quizlet

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

How to give orders in Italian? The imperative form

The imperative of a verb can be used to give commands, orders, or instructions.

In contrast to English and other languages, the imperative conjugation of verbs in Italian is not necessarily the same as the simple present.

It can be used with the pronouns tu, voi, noi, and lei (formal you).

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FAQs on Giving orders and instructions: Italian grammar lesson 123

How do you command someone in Italian?

In English, we “ just ” use what seems to be the most basic form of the verb when giving orders or instructing others. However, from a grammatical perspective, we are using an imperative form. To give orders, commands, and instructions in Italian, use this form.

What is the informal imperative in Italian?

When speaking to someone we know well, we use an informal imperative. You should give the verb steam the various endings of -are, -ere, and -ire verbs in order to make the Italian imperative of the regular verbs.

How do you write an imperative form?

The conjugation for the pronouns tu and voi is the same as for the present tense of verbs ending in -ERE and -IRE. The conjugation for verbs ending in ARE remains the same for voi but changes for tu.

Italian word of the day
contento
Example
Finalmente abbiamo finito! Sono proprio contento.
Finally we’re done! I’m really glad.
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