The Portuguese Imperative


I find the Portuguese Imperative pretty confusing! The Imperative is a mood, not a verb tense, btw. Verb tenses are the individual conjugations within a mood: eu falo, você fala, nós falamos ETC. A mood has tenses.

The Portugues Imperative is a MOOD. Mood indicates the attitude of the speaker toward a subject. In this case, a command or demand. The sentence will always end in an !

I try and steer beginners away from this mood because Brazilians do not use this form with consistency. What I really mean to say here is, they follow the rules of grammar, but they switch between the regular and the tu form without any real reason. But there is a method to the madness. Let me explain.

» For AR verbs you just replace the a with an e. FOR EXAMPLE: fala » » fale!
» For ER & IR verbs you just replace the e with an a. FOR EXAMPLE: come » » coma!
*HEY: we are just doing the ele/ela/você forms here! LET'S KEEP IT SIMPLE 😉

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-ar regular verbs

Tell me everything!Me conte tudo!
Think again!Pense bem!

-er and -ir regular verbs

Get out of here!Suma daqui!
Open this door!Abra essa porta!
Learn this!Aprenda isso!
Answer me!Me responda!

You will hear all of these. These are correct and normal. But what about the irregular verbs? Irregular verbs take the same form as the present subjunctive (at least for the ele/ela/você forms). I told you this was confusing. It's advanced stuff because you really need to have a feel for the present subjunctive. I learned it by just getting used to hearing it in context. Only later did I learn the subjunctive. Look at some of the most common examples of irregular verbs in the imperative. Enter your best ZEN state and absorb these:

Não perca! » Don't miss out!
Confira! » Check it out!
Não toque em mim! » Don't touch me!
Durma bem! » Sleep well!
Vá embora! » Get going!
Vem cá! » Come here!

Some examples in the first person singular:

It gets stranger.

In reality, Brazilians use the tu form when conjugating the imperative. They do so for two reasons: When you're demanding something from someone you're often speaking in an extremely informal way with them. Look, check out that guy's sunglasses! - VERY INFORMAL. Eat your dinner! - VERY INFORMAL. The second reason is the tu conjugation just sounds better(!). People will argue this point but there is really no better explanation. You can't say "Olhe só!" -- No one says that. "Olha só!" just sounds better.

Abandon ye all rules. Just listen to the language.

Portuguese grammar is overall, very consistent. Much more so than English. The imperative is the exception.

Some very common examples that use the TU form:

Espera aí! » Wait there!
Olha só! » Just look!
Escuta! » Listen!
Tira sua mão! » Take your hand off!
Fala tu! » Talk to me!
Se liga! » Take note!

*Se liga = literally: connect yourself. Use it to say, wake up, open your eyes, don't be ignorant ETC.

You will hear all of these almost every day. Get used to them. Se acostume!

From the video learning course, INTENSIVO.

Here is THE song for practicing the imperative. EVERY SINGLE LINE HAS A VERB IN THE IMPERATIVE! Seriously. Simply amazing. The lyrics (letra) are written on the same pager as the video clip. Love this song. Wait for ~15 seconds for the backup video to load as the 1st one has been blocked.

Do it!