Imperative

  1. The imperative is also referred to as the 'command' form, because you use it when you want to 'order' one (singular) or more (plural) persons to do something.
  2. To form the imperative you need to know two forms of the present/future tense of the verb: the first person singular and third person plural.
  3. The stem for the imperative will be the same as the stem for the third person plural, and the accent will be on the same syllable as in the first person singular.
  4. If the stem in the third person plural ends in a vowel, to form the imperative you add the ending for the singular (when you command one person), and the ending -йте when you command more than one person.
  5. The accent will be on the same syllable as in the first person singular:
    Present tense Imperative
    1st singular3rd plural2nd singular2nd plural
    читА-ючитА-ютчитА-йчитА-йте
    слУша-юслУша-ютслУша-йслУша-йте
  6. If the stem ends in a consonant, then you need to look at the accent of the first person singular before you form the imperative.
  7. If the stem ends in a consonant and the accent is on the ending of the first person singular form, you add the ending for the singular form and -ите for the plural:
    Present tenseImperative
    1st singular3rd plural2nd singular2nd plural
    говор-Юговор-Ятговор-Иговор-Ите
    спрош-УспрОс-ятспрос-Испрос-Ите
  8. If the stem ends in a consonant and the accent is on the stem of the first person singular form, you add the ending for the singular form and -ьте for the plural:
    Present tenseImperative
    1st singular3rd plural2nd singular2nd plural
    готОв-люготОв-ятготОв-ьготОв-ьте
    отвЕч-уотвЕт-ятотвЕт-ьотвЕт-ьте
  9. If the stem ends in a consonant cluster we use the endings , -ите (unaccented), instead of the expected , -ьте :
    Present tenseImperative
    1st singular3rd plural2nd singular2nd plural
    пОмн-юпОмн-ятпОмн-ипОмн-ите
  10. The imperative of some verbs is irregular, and you simply have to memorize it:
    Present tenseImperative
    1st singular3rd plural2nd singular2nd plural
    поед-упоед-утпоезжа-йпоезжа-йте
  11. To form the imperative of reflexive verbs you follow the same rules. Add the reflexive particle after you have formed the imperative:
Present tenseImperative
1st singular3rd plural2nd singular2nd plural
купа-юськупа-ютсякупа-йся>купа-йтесь

The imperative and aspect

  1. You would normally use the perfective form of a verb if your 'command' stresses the completion of the action, and the imperfective form if the command stresses the actual activity:
    Приготовьте обед в 2 часа! Have supper ready by 2!
    Emphasis on having supper cooked by 2.
    Готовьте обед! Cook supper!
    Emphasis on what needs to be done.
  2. If you command someone not to do something, you would normally use the imperfective aspect:
    Не читайте эту газету! Don't read this newspaper!
    Не говорите мне об этом! Don't talk to me about it!
    Не приходите к нам! Don't come to our place!
  3. Russian does not have a third person imperative. Instead, Russian uses the word пусть (let) and the verb in the present or perfective future tense.
    Пусть Олег проготовить обед. Let Oleg cook lunch!
    Пусть Нина напишет письмо. Let Nina write a letter!
  4. Russian also has a first person plural imperative construction, which is equivalent to the English "let's". You would use it when you want to suggest to someone that you do something together.
  5. If the verb is imperfective, you use the word давай (singular) or давайте (plural) and the verb in the infinitive:
    Давайте играть в шахматы. Let's play chess!
    Давайте смотреть телевизор. Let's watch television!
  6. If the verb is perfective, you use the first person plural form of the verb without a subject, with or without the word давай: Пойдём в парк. Let's go to the park!
    Давай поможем маме. Let's help mom!

Exercises: 0123