German Imperative

In German, the imperative mood can be used to give an order, formulate a request or give advice. It is used with the second person singular, the first person plural, the second person plural and the third person plural (the polite form): du, wir, ihr and Sie.

The use of the German imperative is very frequent and does not represent any lack of politeness or aggressiveness. It is necessary to be familiar with the rules in order to form the German imperative correctly.

Imperative in the second person singular: du

In the second person singular the personal pronoun du must be omitted and the ending -en of the verb in the infinitive must be removed to form the imperative. In formal language it is possible to maintain an -e at the end of the verb.

Example: Spiel ! (spielen = to play)

Imperative in the first person plural: wir

In the first person plural, the personal pronoun wir is not omitted and the verb is formed as an infinitive.

Example: Spielen wir ! (spielen = to play)

Imperative in the second person plural: ihr

In the second person plural, the personal pronoun ihr is omitted for the imperative mood. The verb is conjugated as in the present tense.

Example: spielt ! (spielen = to play)

Imperative in the third person plural: Sie

In the third person plural, the personal pronoun Sie is not omitted and the verb takes the form of the infinitive.

Example: Spielen Sie ! (spielen = to play)

A few rules of conjugation to know in order to form the German imperative

  • The change of the vowel a in ä that may occur in the present tense does not concern the imperative mode in German.
  • If the verb in the present tense ends in -d or -t a final -e must be added.
  • The vowel changes that may occur in the present tense also concern imperative verbs. However, when there is a vowel change in the stem of the verb the final -e is omitted.
  • When the verb stem in the present tense ends with a consonant (either -m or -n) then an -e must be added at the end unless the consonant in question is preceded by one of these letters: -m, -n, -l, -r or -h.
  • When the infinitive verb ends in -eln or -ern then an -e must be added at the end to form the imperative. However, this final -e is optional.

To check the conjugation of certain verbs in German, you can use the German Verb Conjugator.


Conjugate a verb in German

The most frequently used verbs in German: sein haben geben finden gehen wissen kommen können liegen sehen