Forming the Imperative
Thankfully, just like in English, forming the imperative is fairly straightforward. In French, there are four main verb groups: er verbs, ir verbs, re verbs, and the irregular verbs. Let's review the main group conjugations for tu, vous, and nous:
-er verb (example: parler)
-ir verb (example: finir)
-re verb (example: vendre)
The imperative, for all but one of the above cases, takes the exact same form. The only exception is -er verbs when you are conjugating for tu. In other words, for any of the other forms above, the ones except -er verbs with tu, to form the imperative, this is what you do:
- Regular sentence: Tu choisis le film. (You're choosing the movie.)
- Imperative: Choisis le film. (Choose the film.)
You'll notice that in English, we drop the subject, in this case, you. In French, you do the same thing. The verb stays the same! This makes it very simple to form the imperative—no new verb endings to learn!
The one exception to those forms, -er verbs conjugated for tu, is very simple. The only change you make is dropping the final -s. For example:
- Regular sentence: Tu fermes la porte. (You're closing the door.)
- Imperative: Ferme la porte. (Close the door.)
You will notice that the verb at first, fermes, has an -s at the end. But in the imperative, we drop that -s, so we just have an -e at the end. Other than that, there are no other changes.
So for the imperative, just remember: drop the subject, and unless you have an -er verb with tu, leave the verb as it is. If it's an -er verb with tu, just drop the last -s, and you're done!