The negative formal imperative: Italian grammar lesson 207

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Non formal imperative italian
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The formal imperative

We use the formal imperative in the following three contexts:

  • When we’re giving orders to someone older;
  • When we’re giving orders to someone we don’t know very well;
  • When we’re giving orders to someone in a formal context.

Let’s review the endings for the formal imperative:

  • Verbs in -are: -i
  • Verbs in -ere: -a
  • Verbs in -ire: -a or -isca

And here are the endings of some irregular verbs for the formal imperative:

  • Avere (to have): abbia
  • Andare (to go): vada
  • Dare (to give): dia
  • Dire (to say): dica
  • Essere (to be): sia
  • Fare (to do): faccia
  • Venire (to come): venga

If you need to review the imperative in more detail, have a look at our lesson about giving orders and instructions.

In today’s lesson, we’re going to focus on the negative formal imperative.

For now, let’s compare these two examples:

Non chiamare troppo tardi.

Don’t call too late. (Informal)

Non chiami troppo tardi.

Don’t call too late. (Formal)

Negative formal imperative italian

The negative formal imperative

As you probably noticed in the above example, making the formal imperative negative is very easy.

We just add the negative word non before the conjugated formal imperative.

Let’s have a look at some examples:

Non dica niente.

Don’t say anything.

Non esageri!

Don’t exaggerate!

Non abbia paura!

Don’t be scared.

Negative formal imperative in italian

Practice with Quizlet

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

The negative formal imperative with pronouns

Have a look at the following sentence:

Lo chiami adesso.

Call him now.

Ci dica tutto.

Tell us everything.

Me li porti a casa.

Bring them to me in my house.

Lo, ci, me and li are all pronouns. They refer to either objects or people.

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If we want to make those sentences negative, again, we can just add non right before the pronoun, which goes before the formal imperative.

Non lo chiami adesso.

Don’t call him now.

Non ci dica tutto.

Don’t tell us everything.

Non me li porti a casa.

Don’t bring them to me in my house.

Here’s the structure:

Non + pronoun + conjugated formal imperative

italian negative formal imperative

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