When you tell someone to do something, or suggesting that you and a group of people do something, you are using what is called the imperative form of a verb.
Do your homework!
Take out the trash!
Let’s go to the movies!
When you use the imperative form of a verb, whether it’s in English or in French, you use either the “you” form of the verb for when you are addressing one or more than one person, and the “we” form for when you are suggesting that you and a group of people do something.
You also do not use the subject pronoun “you” for commands when you are talking to one or many people. It is already understood.
In English, we have only two imperative forms: “you,” used for talking to either one or more than one person, and “we.”
(You) Do your homework!
(You all) Take out the trash!
(We) Let’s go shopping!
In French, there are three imperative forms: “you” plural/formal, “you” singular, and “we.”
So in French, when you are forming commands for -er ending verbs, you use the tu, nous, and vous forms of the verb and drop the subject pronoun. And that’s it!
Oh, and for the tu form, and only for commands when the verb ends in -er, you drop the “s” at the end of the verb form. We’re only going to focus on -er ending verbs for now. 🙂
Let’s take the verb regarder, to watch. Do you remember what the tu, nous, and vous forms are for that verb?
Tu – regardes
Nous – regardons
Vous – regardez
We’re almost there! Now we need to take the “s” off the end of the “tu” form of the verb.
And there you go!
Regarde la télé! = (You) Watch TV!
Regardons la télé! = Let’s watch TV!
Regardez la télé! = (You plural or formal) Watch TV!
How about the verb manger? Hey, everyone loves to eat, right? Do you remember the tu, nous, and vous forms for that verb as well?
Tu – manges
Nous – mangeons
Vous – mangez
And remember to take that “s” off the end of the tu form.
Mange une pomme! = (You) Eat an apple!
Mangeons une pomme! = Let’s eat an apple!
Mangez une pomme! = (You plural or formal) Eat an apple!
So that’s all fine and dandy when the verb is a regular -er ending verb. But as we have seen in French, not all verbs are regular (boo!). So what about the verbs like avoir, être, faire, or allez?
For the verb avoir, the imperative forms are as follows:
Tu – Aie
Nous – Ayons
Vous – Ayez
Tu – Sois
Nous – Soyons
Vous – Soyez
Sois gentil! = Be nice!
Soyons méchants! = Let’s be mean!
Tu – Va
Nous – Allons
Vous – Allez
Allons au cinéma! = Let’s go to the movies!
Va au supermarché! = Go to the supermarket!
Tu – Fais
Nous – Faisons
Vous – Faites
Faites du lèche-vitrine! = Do some window shopping!
Fais le ménage! = Do the housework!
And now let’s practice! (Hey, there we just used a command there in English! :D)
Click here to watch the YouTube video for the song “Je te donne,” which we will be singing for the Open House in May. You do not need to memorize the song, just be familiar with the song when I see you on April 2nd for class.
Complete commands worksheet from class if you did not already complete it. Commands worksheet