Negative orders with pronouns: Italian grammar lesson 128


Unlock the secrets of Italian negative orders with pronouns! This guide will show you the flexibility of the language, teaching you both common and formal ways to express don’ts with flair. 🇮🇹✨

  • Positive vs. Negative Imperatives: While positive commands attach pronouns to the verb, negative commands in Italian let you place pronouns before or after the verb. Choose your style!
  • Formal Lei Exception: Remember, when you’re being formal with Lei, pronouns always come before the verb. Keep it classy and correct!
  • Common Usage: Nowadays, Italians tend to put pronouns before the verb in negative commands. It’s the trend, but hey, you do you!
  • Joining Pronouns: When pronouns follow the verb in negative commands, they merge to form one word. It’s like a linguistic dance, so get your steps right!
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Try out phrases like Non rispondergli or Non gli rispondere (Don’t answer him). Mix it up and see what feels natural!

My thoughts

What are negative orders with pronouns in Italian?

We have learned that in Italian, in the positive imperative pronouns join onto the end of the verb, forming a single word:


Answer him!


Tell it to me!

Now, let’s see what happens in the negative!

How to use negative imperative with pronouns?

In the negative form of the imperative, all direct and indirect pronouns can either come before or after the verb. Both forms are correct!

Let’s have a look at some examples:

(Voi) Non parlatemi così! or Non mi parlate così!

Don’t talk to me that way!

(Noi) Non mangiamolo! or Non lo mangiamo!

Let’s not eat it!

(Tu) Non muoverti! or Non ti muovere!

Don’t move!

As you have noticed, when they come before the verb, the pronouns remain separated, while when they come after the verb, they join onto it, forming a single word.

What are the exceptions of negative imperative with pronouns?

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If you pay attention, you’ll notice we did not provide an example with the formal Lei. This is because direct and indirect pronouns always come before the verb when using lei.

(Lei formale) Non mi guardi così!

Do not look at me like that!

(Lei formale) Per favore, non lo faccia!

Please, do not do it!

Negative imperative with pronouns: examples

Nowadays, it is probably more common to place the pronouns before the verb rather than after, but both forms are correct, and you can freely choose when to use one or the other!

For instance, you can say Non rispondergli or Non gli rispondere (Don’t answer him). Similarly, Non dirmelo and Non me lo dire (Don’t tell it to me) are both correct.

Let’s practice with some more examples of the use of the negative imperative with pronouns.

Per favore, non darglielo. or Per favore, non glielo dare.

Please, do not give it to him/her/them.

La torta è per Maria, non mangiatela! or La torta è per Maria, non la mangiate!

The cake is for Mary, do not eat it!

What are the rules for imperative in Italian?

When it comes to forming the imperative of regular verbs, the process involves attaching specific endings to the verb stem. The verb stem is the root form of the verb that remains after removing the –are, –ere, or –ire. To form the imperative tense correctly, the ending you add to the verb stem depends on the subject or the intended audience of the command.

What is the negative form of the imperative in Italian?

In the Italian language, the negative imperative is a verb form used to express a command or request that something should not be done. To form the negative imperative, one should always add the word "non" before the verb.

Italian word of the day
Hai voglia di fare una passeggiata?
Do you feel like going for a walk?
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