👉 Watch my video lesson on this French grammar topic at the bottom of this post 👈
L’impératif – Imperative Mood
The imperative mood is used when giving commands, orders, or expressing wishes. The imperative is a very direct way to give an order. Giving orders can be softened with more polite alternatives like the conditional (Je voudrais, J’aimerais…)
Formation of the imperative
There are only three forms of the imperative: TU, NOUS, VOUS.
The imperative is formed by taking the forms of the present tense.
|Nous choisissons||Choisissons||Let’s choose|
|Nous prenons||Prenons||Let’s take|
Drop the S in the TU form
All verbs ending in ER , the verb ALLER , and verbs like OUVRIR drop the S in the TU form.
Irregular verbs in the imperative
Être, avoir, savoir, and vouloir are the only verbs that are irregular in the imperative.
Remember: You can only use verbs in the tu, vous, and nous forms since the imperative suggests a command or request.
L’impératif et les pronoms
Do you want to make an affirmative or a negative command? This will affect the order in which the object pronouns placement.
When making affirmative commands, attach pronouns directly to the end of the verb and connect them with a hyphen. The pronouns ME and TE become MOI and TOI, except before EN and Y.
Translate the following using the imperative with pronouns:
Write to her! (écrire – VOUS form)
Hurry up! (se dépêcher – TU form)
Here is the letter. Read it, please. (lire – VOUS form)
|Voici la lettre. Lisez-la, s’il vous plaît.|
What beautiful shoes! Let’s buy them! (acheter – NOUS form)
|Quelles belles chaussures! Achetons-les!|
Let’s give the money to them. (donner – NOUS form)
The book? Put it on my desk, please. (mettre – VOUS form)
|Le livre? Mettez-le sur mon bureau, s’il vous plaît.|
Listen to me! (écouter – TU form)
Exception: Dropping the S in the TU form with pronouns
All verbs ending in ER , the verb ALLER , and verbs like OUVRIR drop the final S in the TU form except before the pronouns Y and EN.
Write the following translations using pronouns:
Buy it! (acheter)
Buy some! (acheter)
Look at him! (regarder)
Look in there! (regarder)
When making negative commands, put the pronoun right before the verb. This is what you’re used to doing with pronouns even when you’re not using the imperative.
Translate the following using pronouns:
Don’t do it, please. (faire – VOUS form)
|Ne le faites pas, s’il vous plaît.|
Don’t eat any of it, please. (manger – TU form)
|N’en mange pas, s’il te plaît.|
Let’s not tell him. (dire – NOUS form)
|Ne lui disons pas.|
Your clothes! Don’t leave them in the bathroom! (laisser – VOUS form)
|Vos vêtements! Ne les laissez pas dans la salle de bains.|
Commands with Double Object Pronouns
Commands can include up to two object pronouns. Notice in the following chart how the order of pronouns changes from the regular order. Pronouns are always attached by hyphens to the end of the verb. ME becomes MOI and TE becomes TOI. However, when ME and TE are followed by EN, they become M’ and T’.
Affirmative Commands Pronoun Order:
Pass it to me! (passer – TU form)
Go away! (aller – TU form)
Let’s give it to them! (donner – NOUS form)
Tell it to her! (dire – VOUS form)
Put them there! (mettre – TU form)
In negative commands with double object pronouns, put the pronouns before the verb and follow the normal order as you see in the chart below.
Normal Pronoun Order
Translate the following using pronouns:
Don’t take it from me! (prendre – TU form)
|Ne me le prends pas!|
Let’s not give it to them! (donner – NOUS form)
|Ne le leur donnons pas!|
Don’t bring it to me! (apporter – VOUS form)
|Ne me l’apportez pas!|
Level B1: Using the imperative with and without pronouns
In this lesson I will teach you how to make affirmative and negative commands in French both with and without pronouns. You’ll see that when you want to use double pronouns with the imperative, a few things change. This comprehensive French lesson includes the following to help you practice and master your new skill:
STEP 1 👉Download your 9 page cours and use it to follow along while listening to the lesson. There are spaces for you to fill in missing information that you will learn as I explain everything. Taking your own notes directly on paper is a proven way of helping to retain new information.
STEP 2 👉 Download your 9 page lesson guide and add it to your French resources folder. This copy includes all of the essential rules and examples from the lesson.
STEP 3 👉 Watch my comprehensive video lesson on forming the imperative and using it in many different ways.
STEP 4 👉 Download Jennifer’s Lesson Notes and review everything that was taught in the lesson. This copy includes supplementary information that is not included in the lesson guide (all of the extras that come up during the lesson).
STEP 5 👉 Listening comprehension exercise – TU. Print out the worksheet and be ready to write as I lead you through an audio exercise. Answer key included.
STEP 6 👉 Listening comprehension exercise – VOUS. Print out the worksheet and be ready to write as I lead you through an audio exercise. Answer key included.
STEP 7 👉 Listening comprehension exercise – NOUS. Print out the worksheet and be ready to write as I lead you through an audio exercise. Answer key included.
STEP 8 👉 Written translation exercise – English to French – This exercise is meant to be simple and really focuses on what was taught in the lesson. An audio file is included in which Jennifer walks you through the exercise and provides explanations.
STEP 9 👉 Written translation exercise – English to French – If you’re an advanced learner or working towards it, you will need a challenge! Work on the imperative along with other B1 and B2 level grammatical structures. An audio file is included in which Jennifer walks you through the exercise and provides explanations.
STEP 10 👉 Written exercise – Reformulate sentences and transform them into imperative commands. An audio file is included in which Jennifer walks you through the exercise and provides explanations.
STEP 11 👉 Written exercise – Give commands using double pronouns. An audio file is included in which Jennifer walks you through the exercise and provides explanations.
STEP 12 👉 50 practice cards. This set of cards will really help you master your new skill! All cards are numbered. The first #1 card tells you what to do. The second #1 card provides the answer.