Imperative in German

The imperative in German is used for giving orders. There are two different forms of the imperative in German (depends on how many person you are addressing).

The imperative – addressing one person

This form has also two different forms in German (addressing formally and informally).

  • Addressing one person informally

For addressing one person informally you take the “du”-form (for a person with whom you are quite familiar – children, family or close friends).

  • This imperative is formed by using the stem of the verb (regular verbs) without an ending. The stem is the form of the infinitive without -en or -n.
  • The imperative is formed by using the stem + add -e (for verbs ending in d, t, consonant + m or consonant + n).
  • The imperative for “haben” and “sein” is formed by using the stem (“haben -> hab” and “sein -> sei”)
  • Addressing one person formally

For addressing one person formally you take the “Sie”-form (for a person you don´t know).

  • This imperative is formed by using the inifintive.
  • The formal imperative must include the personal pronoun “Sie”.
  • The personal pronoun “Sie” comes after the verb (so you recognize that this is an imperative)

English: Come here
Translation: to come -> kommen
German (informal): Komm her
German (formal): Kommen Sie her.

Separable verbs as “anfangen” (Englisch: to beginn) split off the prefix and the prefix is placed at the end of the clause.

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Autor: , Letzte Aktualisierung: 29. April 2022