German Imperative

What is the German Imperative?

The German imperative is used to give someone a command or an order. The German imperative is mostly used in the 2nd (du) person singular and pluar (ihr) or the formal „Sie“ form. More rarely the imperative is needed for the 1st person plural.

The verb stands at the 1st position and the imperative comes always in a main sentence. The German imperative is often needed in the language: this applies for the formal German, daily German and German at the job. Fortunately the German imperative is one of the easiest grammar topics and it should not be the biggest problem for you.

Forming the German Imperative

2nd person singular:

  • In the most cases the word stem is used as the imperative by removing the „en“ of the infinitive.
  • Red nicht so laut! Do not speak so loud!

2nd person plural:

  • Mostly a „t“ is added to the word stem: Seht dort!

  • In case that the word stem ends with a „d“ then an „et“ is added. Reden – red- redet.

    Redet leiser! Speak quieter!

Formal form:

  • The infinitive stands at the 1st position of the sentence.
  • In the formal form the subject is needed which comes after the verb.
  • Helfen Sie mir! Help me!

1st person plural:

  • The infinitive stands at the 1st position of the sentence and at the 2nd position the subject wir (we).
  • Gehen wir! Let us go!

    The 1st person plural is only very rarely used. Normally Germans build instead a sentence with a form of lassen (to let).

    Lass uns gehen! Let us go!

Examples of the German imperative:

    1. Geh nach Hause! Go home!

    2. Mach jetzt deine Hausaufgaben! Do your homework now!

    3. Helfen Sie mir jetzt! Help me now!

    4. Beeil dich! Hurry up!

    5. Kochen wir das Essen! Let's cook the food!

    6. Fahr schneller! Drive faster!

    7. Ärgert euch nicht über das Wetter! Do not complain about the weather!

    8. Komm zu mir! Come to me!

    9. Erledigen Sie die Aufgabe! Do the job!

    10. Steh jetzt auf! Get up now!

German Imperative Quiz

It makes sense to practice the German imperative regulary with excercises and quizzes. You can find our latest German Imperative Quiz: here.

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