The 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 more than one person

This form has also two different forms in German (addressing formally and informally).
  • Addressing informally
For addressing informally you take the “du”-form (for 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) + add ending -t. The stem is the form of the infinitive without -en or -n.
  • The imperative is formed by using the stem + add -et (for verbs ending in d, t, consonant + m or consonant + n).
  • Addressing formally
For addressing formally you take the “Sie”-form (for person you don´t know).
  • This imperative is formed by using the inifintive (The formal imperative does not differentiate between the singular and
    plural form).

  • 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: Wait
Translation: to wait -> warten
German (informal): Wartet (stem is ending in “t” -> you add “-et”)
German (formal): Warten Sie.

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: 23. Februar 2023