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French Imperative Mood

Introduction to the French imperative

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The imperative, called l'impératif in French, is a verb mood which is used to 
  • give an order
  • express a desire
  • make a request
  • offer advice
  • recommend something
Unlike all other French verb tenses and personal moods, the subject pronoun is not used with the imperative:

   Fermez la porte.
   Close the door.

   Mangeons maintenant.
   Let's eat now.

   Ayez la bonté de m'attendre.
   Please wait for me.

   Veuillez m'excuser.
   Please excuse me.

The above are called "affirmative commands," because they are telling someone to do something. "Negative commands," which tell someone not to do something, are made by placing ne in front of the verb and the appropriate negative adverb after the verb:

   Ne parle pas !
   Don't speak!

   N'oublions pas les livres.
   Let's not forget the books.

   N'ayez jamais peur.
   Never be afraid.


Page 2: Imperative conjugations
Page 3: Imperative word order

Quiz on the French imperative

Note: The imperative is not the only way to tell someone what to do in French; see Giving orders in French
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