CONTENT
  1. Forming the Imperative with Du
  2. Forming the Imperative with Ihr
  3. Forming the Imperative with Sie
  4. Using German Imperative to Request Something

The imperative voice in German, just like in English, is used to give a command, an instruction, or a prompt. There are three main forms of it, corresponding to the three different ways of saying "you" in German: du, ihr and Sie.

Forming the Imperative with Du

Rule 1: To form the imperative for the 2nd person singular "du," in most of the cases we just have to remove the ending -en from the infinitive and simply use the verb stem.

The pronoun "du" is usually dropped.

Native

Translation

Mach jeden Tag Sport!

Do sports every day!

Rule 2: In some cases, we add the ending -e to make the pronunciation easier. This happens, for example, when the verb ends in chn-, fn-, or tm-.

Native

Translation

Atme richtig durch!

Take a deep breath!

Forming the Imperative with Ihr

Rule 3: To form the imperative for the 2nd person plural "ihr," we simply use the simple present of the verb.

Native

Translation

Trinkt viel Wasser!

Drink lots of water!

The pronoun is also usually dropped in this case.

Forming the Imperative with Sie

Rule 4: To form the imperative with the formal "Sie," you need to use the following formula:

  • verb stem + ending -en + pronoun Sie

Native

Translation

Hören Sie zu!

Listen!

Using German Imperative to Request Something

Rule 5: We can also use the imperative in German to politely ask someone to do something. This corresponds to the English Can you…? or Could you…?

In this case, we don't add an exclamation mark.

Native

Translation

Sagen Sie mir bitte, wie spät es ist.

Can you tell me what time it is please?