In day-to-day life it’s common to ask people to do things. When we say “do this”, “pick up the garbage”, or “start now” - these are commands. Right now, we are going to look at los mandatos formales - these are commands that we use for people that we don’t know, or want to show respect to (that means we use usted and ustedes, remember!).
We are going to work with both los mandatos afirmativos (affirmative - we want the person/people to do it) and los mandatos negativos (negative - we don’t want the person/people to do it).

Usted commands:

Let’s look at an example, you want someone to dribble a ball.
  1. Start with the verb in the sentence: “to dribble”, in Spanish: driblar
  2. Use the yo form of the verb: driblar→ driblo
  3. Drop the ending (-o): driblo → dribl
  4. Add -e for “-ar” verbs and add -a for “-er/-ir” verbs: drible
To form an usted command:
1st person singular verb (yo) in present tense, with changed ending to -e (-ar verbs) or -a (-er/-ir verbs)
How would you tell someone to run faster?
  1. Verb in the sentence: “to run”, in Spanish: correr
  2. Yo form: correr → corro
  3. Drop ending: corr
  4. Add -a for “-er” verb: corra
¡Emilio, corra rápido y drible el balón!
How would you tell a person to score a goal?
  1. Verb in the sentence “to score”, in Spanish: meter
  2. Yo form: meter → meto
  3. Drop ending: met
  4. Add -a for “-er” verb: meta

Ustedes commands:

To form plural (ustedes) commands, when we are talking to more than one person, we follow the same steps as for usted, but we change the endings slightly:
1st person singular verb (yo) in present tense, with changed ending to -en (-ar verbs) or -an (-er/-ir verbs)
How would you ask a group of children to wait?
  1. Verb in the sentence: “to wait”, in Spanish: esperar
  2. Yo form: esperar → espero
  3. Drop ending: esper
  4. Add -en for “-ar” verb: esperen
Niños, ¡esperen!
Now, tell the children to run.
¡Niños corran a la escuela que van a llegar tarde!
Usted/Ustedes commands - con los verbos “yo-go”:
Remember - because we learned to use the yo form as the base/stem for forming our commands, these ones are easy! Do you remember the meanings of them in English? Complete the following table and save it in your notes. Use the first verb “tener” as an example.
  Meaning Usted   Ustedes  
tener to have tenga tengan

Ustedes commands: con verbos que tienen cambio de raíz:

Do you remember some verbs that we have looked at that have a stem-change? Like the verb dormir → duermo? We have to remember these stem-changes in our commands - this is why we learned to use the the yo form as our base/stem. The following chart has some examples of stem-changing verbs we have seen and what their command forms are.
o:ue e:ie
dormir to sleep duerma/n cerrar to close cierre/n
mover to move mueva/n pensar to think piense/n
contar to count cuente/n      
volver to return vuelva/n      
encontrar to find encuentre/n      
recordar to remember recuerde/n      

seguir to follow siga/n
repetir to repeat repita/n

Ustedes commands: irregulares

  Here are two examples of irregular commands:
Unos ejemplos:
No vayan a la playa en el invierno.
el regalo al hombre.
OJO: To make ud/uds commands negative, all you have to do is add a negative word, like no, nunca, or nadie.

Nadie se mueva.
Nunca cierre la ventana.
No escriba la carta.