The imperative

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The imperative

The imperative is used for direct orders and requests.

Trink 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) Geh!
(wir) Gehen wir!
(ihr) Geht!
(Sie) Gehen Sie!

Geh nach Hause! (Präsens: du gehst)

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

For wir (we) and Sie (you polite) 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 it! / Get down to it!

Note:

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

fahren du fährst Fahr nach Hause!

To drive you drive drive home!

  • The form with (e) is formal and is not used in spoken German.

Singe ein Lied! (formell) / Sing ein Lied! (informell)

Sing a song! (formal) / Sing a song! (informal)

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

Hör 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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