German Lessons

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Der Imperativ

The German imperative mood, or command form, can be very difficult or very easy depending on whom you are addressing. This week, we'll look at some various examples from Yabla German to highlight what you'll need to keep in mind. 

 

For a person or group of people that you would address as Sie, the command form is quite easy. You will simply say the root of the verb with -en added (in most cases this will be identical to the infinitive) followed by Sie:

 

Nehmen Sie bitte Platz, Frau Sonntag.
Please have a seat, Ms. Sonntag.
Caption 35, Das Lügenbüro: Die Bewerbung

 

Bitte, seien Sie jetzt ganz still.
Please, be completely silent now.
Caption 60, Magie: Die Zaubershow

 

For a group of people you would address as ihr, you will simply use the present tense conjugation. The subject ihr, however, is no longer included in the sentence. 

 

Gebt mir die schönen Sätze. Jacob beginnt.
Give me your nice sentences. Jacob will begin.
Caption 20, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren: Relativsätze mit Präpositionen

 

The most difficult imperative sentences to form are those for people you would refer to as du, because there are several different patterns they can follow depending on the characteristics of the verb. For weak verbs, the form will be the verb's stem, although an  "e" is added to the end with certain consonants. For strong verbs, the imperative will take into account any changes to the root that occur. In any case, du does not usually appear in the sentence. 

 

Atme ganz tief ein
Breathe in very deeply
Caption 43, Christina Stürmer: Wir leben den Moment

 

Aber schau mal hier.
But look here.
Caption 23, Bubble Beatz: Supertalente vom Schrottplatz

 

Vergiss es! Das wird nicht passieren.“
"Forget it! It won't happen."
Caption 74, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Hans mein Igel 

 

Sei ruhig, Findus, ich bin ja noch gar nicht aufgestanden.
Be quiet, Findus, I indeed haven't gotten up yet at all.
Caption 13, Pettersson und Findus: Eine Geburtstagstorte für die Katze

 

Komm, bleib kurz stehen, nimm meine Hand
Come, stand still for a brief moment, take my hand
Caption 5, Michelle: Paris

 

Further Learning

 

For more information on the du imperative, look at this website or this website. If you wish to make flashcards, use the second column of the table on this page, which shows the du imperative for a number of common strong verbs. 

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