The imperative in German

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The imperative

The imperative is used for direct orders and requests.

Trinke noch einen Kaffee!

Drink another coffee!

Warten Sie vor der Tür!

Wait outside the door!

The imperative is formed with the same endings as the present tense. Exception: for du (you) there is no ‑st ending.

Präsens
ich gehe
du gehst
er/sie/es geht
wir gehen
ihr geht
sie/Sie gehen
Imperativ Präsens
(du) Gehe!
(wir) Gehen wir!
(ihr) Geht!
(Sie) Gehen Sie!

The ‑e ending for the du (you) form is often omitted in everyday speech.

Gehe nach Haus Geh nach Hause! (Präsens: du gehst)

Go home! (present tense: du gehst, you go)

Bleibe da! → Bleib da! (Präsens: du bleibst)

Stay there! (present tense: du bleibst, you stay)

For wir (we) and Sie (polite "you") the pronoun is part of the imperative, as otherwise you could not differentiate between the two.

Kommen wir zur Sache! / Kommen Sie zur Sache!

Let’s get down to business! / Get down to business!

Note:

  • For verbs that change the vowel a → ä there is no umlaut in the imperative.

fahren → du fährst → Fahre nach Hause!

to drive → you drive → Drive home!

In the imperative, the first part of a separable verb Trennbares Verb goes to the end of the sentence.

Höre mit dem Lärm auf! (aufhören)

Stop that racket! (the auf of aufhören goes to the end)

Steigen wir ein! (einsteigen)

Let's get on board! (the ein of einsteigen goes to the end)


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