Placement of direct and indirect pronouns with the imperative

Reminder: the imperative is used to give orders, instructions or make requests in a direct manner.

Vieni in ufficio! venire, imperativo presente

Come to the office!

Non venire in ufficio! venire, imperativo negativo

Don't come to the office!

When direct Pronomi CD or indirect object pronouns Pronomi CI are used with the imperative, they are placed:

  • In an affirmative sentence: before the verb, as a separate word, if it's the lei (formal “you”) form of the verb; after the verb, attached to it, if it's the tu (informal “you”) or voi (plural “you”) form.

(Lei) presti 50 euro a Ciro →  Gli presti 50 euro.

Lend Ciro 50 euros → Lend him 50 euros. (lei form of the verb)

(Tu) porta il piatto in tavola →  Portalo in tavola.

Take the plate to the table → Take it to the table. (tu form of the verb)

  • In a negative sentence: either before or after the verb, as preferred. If the pronoun comes before the verb, they remain two separate words but if it comes after, the infinitive loses the -e on the end and the pronoun is attached to it.

Non prenotare la camera → Non prenotarla. / Non la prenotare.

Don't book the room → Don't book it.

Non dire nulla a Toni → Non dirgli nulla. / Non gli dire nulla.

Don't say anything to Toni → Don't say anything to him.

  • For the formal imperative, lei (formal “you”): the pronoun always comes before the verb.

Ecco la sua risposta, la legga!

Here is your reply, read it!

Questo quadro è orribile, non lo guardi!

This painting is horrible, don't look at it!


  • With the exception of gli (to him), the first consonant of all direct and indirect pronouns is doubled when they are attached to these tu (you) forms of the imperative: di’ (say), fa’ (do), va’ (go), da’ (give) and sta’ (stay).

Di’ quello che pensi → Dillo!

Say what you think → Say it!

Da’ una mano a me → Dammi una mano!

Give me a hand!

  • The particles ne (of it) and ci (about it; there, here) are treated like pronouns when it comes to the imperative.

Compra più pane → Comprane di più!

Buy more bread → Buy more of it!

Vai subito dal dottore  → Vacci subito!

Go to the doctor right away → Go there right away!

  • The indirect object pronoun loro (to them) always comes after the verb as a separate word.

(Tu) presta a Lucia e Mario il libro → Presta loro il libro.

Lend the book to Lucia and Mario → Lend them the book.

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