The Formation of Latin Verbs XXII.

Imperatives.

An imperative is a command or an order, e.g. "Stop!", "Don't slurp your soup!" An imperative is easily recognized in English and Latin by an exclamation mark being placed after it. It is also often found with a noun in the vocative case, e.g. "Look, o citizens, at the villain before you!", "Don't annoy your sister, David!"

Note that an imperative can be positive or negative. A positive imperative tells someone to do something, e.g. "Be nice to your parents!" A negative imperative tells someone not to do something, e.g. "Don't talk to strangers!"

Imperatives are either singular or plural, depending on whether a single person, or several persons are being addressed. In English, it can be hard to tell whether the imperative is singular or plural, because the two forms are the same - you have to work it out from context. In Latin, it is important to distinguish carefully between singular and plural imperatives; as usual, the endings will tell you which it is, e.g. "Stand still, Mark!" ("Sta, Marce!") is singular, while "Stand still, girls!" ("State, puellae!") is plural.

The formation of the imperative in Latin is entirely regular. Simply find the present stem (infinitive minus -re) and that is the singular imperative. To make the plural imperative, add -te to the singular.

Note: This rule is broken by third and third-io conjugation verbs, where the final 'e' of the singular changes to 'i' before the -te in the plural (see below).

For the purposes of this tutorial, only second person commands are considered, i.e. where a person or persons are being directly told to do something. Latin also has first person imperatives ("Let us all rejoice!"), and third person imperatives ("Let her go first!", "Let them arise and dance!") which are formed using the present subjunctive.

It is interesting to note too that Latin has both future and past imperatives as well as present imperatives, but these are fairly rare. These concepts are quite foreign to English, e.g. "Be going to fight well!" (not now, but at some point in the future). You do not need to know about these imperatives.


The First Conjugation.

amo, amare, amavi, amatum to love
ama!love! (sing.)                    amate!love! (plural)

The first conjugation is where all the a-stem verbs are grouped together. The singular imperative is formed by finding the infinitive (second principal part) and chopping off the final -re. To make the plural imperative, simply add -te to the singular.
Other verbs conjugated like amo are:
rogo, rogare, rogavi, rogatumto ask
ambulo, ambulare, ambulavi, ambulatumto walk
clamo, clamare, clamavi, clamatumto shout
navigo, navigare, navigavi, navigatumto sail

Practising the First Conjugation Imperative.


porto, portare, portavi, portatum to carry
      singular
2nd person carry! (sing.)
      plural
2nd person carry! (pl.)

Practise forming a first conjugation verb in the imperativeby studying the table in the previous section, and then applying the rules to the first conjugation verb directly above. Type in the verb forms, and then press << Check Answers >> to see whether you are correct. You can move between the text boxes by using the << Tab >> key.
Be tested on different first conjugation verbs by clicking on the pictures below. You can be tested on either Latin to English, or English to Latin.
  
Latin to English  English to Latin

The Second Conjugation.

moneo, monere, monui, monitum to warn
mone!warn! (sing.)                    monete!warn! (plural)

The second conjugation is where all the long-e-stem verbs are grouped together. The singular imperative is formed by finding the infinitive (second principal part) and chopping off the final -re. To make the plural imperative, simply add -te to the singular.
Other verbs conjugated like moneo are:
video, videre, vidi, visumto see
habeo, habere, habui, habitumto have
timeo, timere, timuito fear
maneo, manere, mansi, mansumto remain

Practising the Second Conjugation Imperative.


deleo, delere, delevi, deletum to destroy
      singular
2nd person destroy! (sing.)
      plural
2nd person destroy! (pl.)

Practise forming a second conjugation verb in the imperativeby studying the table in the previous section, and then applying the rules to the second conjugation verb directly above. Type in the verb forms, and then press << Check Answers >> to see whether you are correct. You can move between the text boxes by using the << Tab >> key.
Be tested on different second conjugation verbs by clicking on the pictures below. You can be tested on either Latin to English, or English to Latin.
  
Latin to English  English to Latin

The Third Conjugation.

rego, regere, rexi, rectum to rule
rege!rule! (sing.)                    regite!rule! (plural)

The third conjugation is where all the short-e-stem verbs are grouped together. The singular imperative is formed by finding the infinitive (second principal part) and chopping off the final -re. To make the plural imperative, change the final 'e' of the singular to 'i' and add -te.
Other verbs conjugated like rego are:
mitto, mittere, misi, missumto send
dico, dicere, dixi, dictumto say
duco, ducere, duxi, ductumto lead
scribo, scribere, scripsi, scriptumto write

Practising the Third Conjugation Imperative.


ago, agere, egi, actum to drive, do
      singular
2nd person drive! (sing.)
      plural
2nd person drive! (pl.)

Practise forming a third conjugation verb in the imperativeby studying the table in the previous section, and then applying the rules to the third conjugation verb directly above. Type in the verb forms, and then press << Check Answers >> to see whether you are correct. You can move between the text boxes by using the << Tab >> key.
Be tested on different third conjugation verbs by clicking on the pictures below. You can be tested on either Latin to English, or English to Latin.
  
Latin to English  English to Latin

The Third-io Conjugation.

capio, capere, cepi, captum to take, seize
cape!take! (sing.)                    capite!take! (plural)

The third-io conjugation is is a small sub-branch of the third conjugation. The singular imperative is formed by finding the infinitive (second principal part) and chopping off the final -re. To make the plural imperative, change the final 'e' of the singular to 'i' and add -te.
Other verbs conjugated like capio are:
facio, facere, feci, factumto do, make
cupio, cupere, cupivi, cupitumto desire
accipio, accipere, accepi, acceptumto receive, accept
interficio, interficere, interfeci, interfectumto kill

Practising the Third-io Conjugation Imperative.


fugio, fugere, fugi, fugitum to flee
      singular
2nd person flee! (sing.)
      plural
2nd person flee! (pl.)

Practise forming a third-io conjugation verb in the imperativeby studying the table in the previous section, and then applying the rules to the third-io conjugation verb directly above. Type in the verb forms, and then press << Check Answers >> to see whether you are correct. You can move between the text boxes by using the << Tab >> key.
Be tested on different third-io conjugation verbs by clicking on the pictures below. You can be tested on either Latin to English, or English to Latin.
  
Latin to English  English to Latin

The Fourth Conjugation.

audio, audire, audivi, auditum to hear
audi!hear! (sing.)                    audite!hear! (plural)

The fourth conjugation is where all the i-stem verbs are grouped together. The singular imperative is formed by finding the infinitive (second principal part) and chopping off the final -re. To make the plural imperative, simply add -te to the singular.
Other verbs conjugated like audio are:
custodio, custodire, custodivi, custoditumto guard
finio, finire, finivi, finitumto finish
venio, venire, veni, ventumto come
punio, punire, punivi, punitumto punish

Practising the Fourth Conjugation Imperative.


dormio, dormire, dormivi, dormitum to sleep
      singular
2nd person sleep! (sing.)
      plural
2nd person sleep! (pl.)

Practise forming a fourth conjugation verb in the imperativeby studying the table in the previous section, and then applying the rules to the fourth conjugation verb directly above. Type in the verb forms, and then press << Check Answers >> to see whether you are correct. You can move between the text boxes by using the << Tab >> key.
Be tested on different fourth conjugation verbs by clicking on the pictures below. You can be tested on either Latin to English, or English to Latin.
  
Latin to English  English to Latin

Irregular Imperatives.

There are very few irregular imperatives. The most common are:
dic duc facfer es
diciteducitefaciteferteeste
For the first three, dic (say!), duc (lead!) and fac (make!), the final 'e' has dropped off. The plurals are all regularly formed.
For fer, ferte (bring!), from fero, ferre, tuli, latum, to bring, the imperative is in fact formed quite regularly, but it looks odd, so is included here.
For es, este (be!), from sum, esse, fui, to be, it is the final -se of the infinitive which drops off, not the final -re.

Negative Imperatives.

To form a negative imperative, i.e. to tell someone not to do something, the Romans used noli + infinitive for the singular, and nolite + infinitive for the plural. The forms noli and nolite are the imperatives of the verb nolo, nolle, nolui, to not want. By forming their negative imperatives in this way, the Romans were actually being much more polite than we are, saying, "Do not want to cry!", rather than "Don't cry!" The forms noli and nolite are always followed by an infinitive, i.e. "Do not want to do something".
cape!take! (sing.)                    capite!take! (plural)
noli capere!don't take! (sing.)                    nolite capere!don't take! (plural)


Summary of the Imperative.

IamaIImoneIIIregeIII-iocapeIVaudi
amatemoneteregitecapiteaudite
Formation: (singular) infinitive (second principal part) minus -re; (plural) add -te to the singular.
Meanings: love!
Forms to note: in third and third-io conjugations, the final -e of the singular changes to i before the -te of the plural.

    
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