Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tú Commands (Affirmative)

Have you ever told somebody to do something? You probably take it for granted. However, it's part of any language, including Spanish. Unlike English, though, Spanish relies on a different conjugation altogether. Here is a very elementary lesson on how to start using commands in Spanish. We're going to make this as simple as possible just to get started. We could attach pronouns to commands (like we do in English - "Eat it!"), but for the sake of simplicity, we're just going to do the basics.

The command is probably the most commonly used, since it deals with a familiar recipient, like a younger friend, your children, or your annoying nephew. You would be more likely to command someone over who you have absolute authority!

To use the command in Spanish, we're just going to take the indicative third-person singular form of the verb. If our verb is vestir(to dress), we can say

¡Viste!


This is the third person of the verb vestir. NOTE! This is NOT the reflexive verb vestirse, which does indeed carry a reflexive pronoun, but instead of meaning "to dress", it means the more useful "to GET dressed".

Another caveat: there are several commonly-used verbs in Spanish that have an irregular form. There aren't many of them, and their commonality is the cause of their irregularity:

tener(to have): ten

venir(to come): ven

poner(to put): pon

salir(to leave): sal

decir(to say): di

hacer(to do): haz

ser(to be): sé

ir(to go): ve


¡Ojo! The command for ir is ve, which is the same command for the verb ver to see. Context will determine the meaning.

Here's a fun one: notice the title of the blog on top of your screen? It says ¿Habla español? That's an indicative 3rd person use of the verb hablar. I can take away the question marks, turn to my daughter when she speaks English in Spanish class, and demand:

¡Habla español!



Sigue estudiando,

Professor Joel

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