Formal Negative Imperative: Italian Grammar Lesson 207

Key Takeaways

Master the art of politeness in Italian with our guide on the formal imperative! Learn to give commands with grace in various formal scenarios, and even how to say “Don’t!” with a touch of class. 😉

  • Definition and Use: The formal imperative is used to give orders in a formal context, addressing someone older, someone we don’t know well, or in a formal situation.
  • Regular Endings: Learn the conjugation of regular verbs in the formal imperative, such as parlare (parli), vendere (venda), and sentire (senta).
  • Comparison with Informal Imperative: Understand the differences between informal and formal imperative forms, including their use of pronouns and affirmative vs. negative forms.
  • Formation of Formal Negative Imperative: Discover how to form the formal negative imperative by simply adding non before the conjugated verb.
  • Examples: Practical examples illustrate the use of the formal negative imperative, such as Non compri nulla! (Don’t buy anything!).

Quick facts

When should you use the formal imperative in Italian?

Use it when giving orders to someone older, unfamiliar, or in a formal context.

What are the endings for regular -are verbs in the formal imperative?

The ending for regular -are verbs in the formal imperative is -i.

How do you conjugate regular -ere verbs in the formal imperative?

Regular -ere verbs in the formal imperative take the ending -a.

What are the two possible endings for -ire verbs in the formal imperative?

-ire verbs can end in either -a or -isca in the formal imperative.

How do you form the negative formal imperative in Italian?

Simply add "non" before the conjugated formal imperative verb.

How would you say "Don't call too late" in the formal imperative?

"Non chiami troppo tardi" is the formal way to say it.

How do you integrate pronouns in a negative formal imperative?

Place "non" before the pronoun, which precedes the formal imperative verb.

How would you say "Don't say anything" using the negative formal imperative?

You would say "Non dica niente."

How do you say "Don't bring them to me at my house" formally and negatively?

The phrase is "Non me li porti a casa."

What structure should you follow for negative formal imperatives with pronouns?

Use the structure: Non + pronoun + conjugated formal imperative.

My Thoughts

What is the Formal Imperative in Italian?

We use the formal imperative when we’re giving orders in the following three contexts:

  1. To someone older
  2. To someone we don’t know very well
  3. To someone in a formal context

Let’s review the regular endings for the formal imperative:

Translation Formal Imperative
parlare to speak parli
vendere to sell venda
sentire to hear senta

As you might know already, the Italian imperative mood changes its conjugations depending on the form:

  • Informal imperative: Addressed to the second person singular tu. It has two different conjugations, depending on whether the verb is affirmative or negative.
  • Formal imperative: Addressed to the formal third person singular lei. It has one form only, for both affirmative or negative.
  • Imperative with pronouns: Pronouns can be displayed in four different ways, depending on whether the verb is addressed to tu vs lei and whether it is affirmative or negative.

In today’s lesson, I will focus on the formal negative imperative.

🔊
Non parli ora!

Practice with Quizlet

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

How to use the Formal Negative Imperative?

As easy as it is, in order to form the formal negative imperative you just have to add the negative word non before the conjugated formal imperative. This mechanism works for all negative imperatives, except for the informal negative imperative with tu.

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Let’s have a look at some examples:

Compri qualcosa!

Buy something.

Non compri nulla!

Don’t buy anything!

Of course, make sure you properly studied the formal affirmative imperative, because you need to properly know that conjugation to form the negative one.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

FAQs

What is the formal imperative in Italian?

The formal imperative is for giving orders in these contexts: To someone older, to someone we don’t know very well, and to someone in a formal context.

How to use the formal negative imperative?

By adding the negative word "non" before the conjugated formal imperative.

How to use the formal negative imperative with pronouns?

By adding "non" before the pronoun followed by conjugated formal imperative.

Italian word of the day
capivo
Example
Non capivo più niente dal sonno.
I was so tired that I couldn’t think.
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