Imperative Negative in Spanish: Formation, Usage and Examples

The negative imperative is a verb form used to give orders, suggestions or instructions in a negative way, that is, to indicate actions that should not be carried out. Unlike the affirmative imperative, which is used to communicate actions that must be carried out, the negative imperative is used to express prohibitions, warnings or restrictions. This verb form is used in formal situations as well as in everyday conversations and is an essential tool for communicating what should not be done.


The Spanish negative imperative at a glance

The negative imperative, an extremely important verb form in the Spanish language, is a fundamental linguistic tool for conveying prohibitions, warnings and restrictions in a clear and firm manner. This grammatical component, belonging to the imperative mood, one of the five verbal modes in Spanish, is used to communicate actions to be avoided or not to be carried out. In contrast to the affirmative imperative, which instructs actions to be carried out, the negative imperative emphasizes actions to be avoided, establishing limits and regulating behavior in various communicative situations.

The negative imperative is used in a wide variety of contexts, from everyday to professional, educational to legal. In everyday life, it is used to issue warnings and precautions, safeguarding people's safety. In this sense, it is used to prevent risks and maintain the integrity of individuals in different circumstances, such as when warning about the danger of certain objects or places.

Formation of the negative imperative

The structure of the negative imperative is based on the conjugation of regular verbs in their first and third person singular forms (I and he/she/it/you) of the present indicative, adding the negative adverb "no" before the verb. This adverb is crucial, as it completely changes the nuance of the instruction, transforming it into a command to abstain. In addition, reflexive verbs can also incorporate the corresponding reflexive pronouns in the negative imperative, reinforcing the notion that the subject must refrain from performing the action.


Conjugation table

Verbs ending in-ar

Hablar
Tú: -es No hables
Usted: -e No hable
Nosotros/Nosotras: -emos No hablemos
Vosotros/Vosotras: -éis No habléis
Ustedes: -en No hablen

Verbs ending in-er

Comer
Tú: -as No comas
Usted: -a No coma
Nosotros/Nosotras: -amos No comamos
Vosotros/Vosotras: -áis No comáis
Ustedes: -an No coman

Verbs ending in -ir

Escribir
Tú: -as No escribas
Usted: -a No escriba
Nosotros/Nosotras: -amos No escribamos
Vosotros/Vosotras: -áis No escribáis
Ustedes: -an No escriban
Do you want to perfect your Spanish and take it to the next level?

Explore the world and improve your Spanish at the same time! Learn with Sprachcaffe in an international group and live the adventure of a lifetime in Malaga, Madrid, Barcelona or Havana!

More information

Uses and examples of the negative imperative

The negative imperative is used in a wide variety of contexts, from everyday to professional, educational to legal. In everyday life, it is used to issue warnings and precautions, safeguarding people's safety. In this sense, it is used to prevent risks and maintain the integrity of individuals in different circumstances, such as when warning about the danger of certain objects or places.

Some examples of contexts in which the negative imperative is used include:

  1. Warnings and cautions:
    • No toques esa sustancia, es peligrosa.
    • No cruces la calle sin mirar.
  2. Standards and rules:
    • No uses el teléfono en esta área.
    • No fumes dentro del edificio.
  3. Negative suggestions:
    • No te preocupes por eso ahora.
    • No salgas sin abrigo, hace frío.
  4. Safety instructions:
    • No manejes sin cinturón de seguridad.
    • No dejes objetos en los pasillos.

In educational situations, the negative imperative is valuable for transmitting knowledge and rules, such as when instructing children not to touch certain items. Furthermore, in professional and legal settings, it is used to establish regulations and guidelines to be followed in the work environment and in society in general. It also plays a significant role in advertising and in communicating rules in public spaces, such as when indicating restrictions in parks or facilities.


Observations

It is important to use an appropriate tone when using the negative imperative, as it can sound authoritative if not used tactfully. In formal situations, "you" can be used to convey a respectful tone, while in more informal contexts "you" can be used.

The choice of the appropriate form of the pronoun of address in the negative imperative depends on the level of formality and respect to be communicated. The use of "usted" and its derivatives (él/ella) carries a respectful and distant tone, appropriate for formal and professional contexts. On the other hand, the "tú" is used in more informal and close situations, where a more friendly and direct communication is sought.

In summary, the negative imperative is a verbal form used to express prohibitions, warnings and restrictions. It is an essential tool for communicating what not to do in a variety of situations, and its proper use is essential for effective and respectful communication.


Learn Spanish with Sprachcaffe

Online Spanish course

Learn Spanish from the comfort of your home with an online course.

More information »

Tutte le informazioni a portata di mano

Ricevi il nuovo catalogo Sprachcaffe!

✓ Panoramica delle nostre destinazioni
✓ Tutti i prezzi e le date dei corsi
✓ Codizioni e termini

­

Richiedi il catalogo

Blog Sprachcaffe

Sul nostro blog troverai articoli interessanti sui viaggi, le diverse culture e l'apprendimento delle lingue!­

­

Leggi il Blog