Everything about German Verbs
Verbs are the most important part of learning German. Learn More.

Learn the German Commands

The Command Mood (or das Imperativ in German) is a mood that is used for expressing commands and also polite requests. It is very similar to the present tense. It’s very similar to saying in English “Grab my phone”, “Take a copy”, or “Don’t be so rude”.

When to use the German Command Mood

  1. Commands and demands.
    • Gib mir die Schlüssel. — Give me the keys.
  2. Polite requests.
    • Nehmen Sie Platz, bitte! → Take a seat, please!

To use this Command form, you use the present tense form of the verb and reverse the order, so that it’s verb first. For the du case, it’s a little different. You need to drop the -st ending, and depending on the consonant you may need to also add an -e . (Only sein doesn’t follow these rules.

Finally, you will often drop the du and ihr and let it be implied, so that you have Gib mir deine Nummer“Give me your number” and Geh nicht dort“Don’t go there”.

 be 
sein volume_up volume_up
--
sei(du)
--
sindwir
seid(ihr)
sindSie
 take 
nehmen volume_up volume_up
--
nimm(du)
--
nehmenwir
nehmt(ihr)
nehmenSie
 think 
denken volume_up volume_up
--
denke(du)
--
denkenwir
denkt(ihr)
denkenSie

You will hear and read this tense often in German, especially on signs. Luckily, it’s very similar to the Present Tense, so you should pick up the pattern quickly.

References

  1. The Imperative (der Imperativ) - dartmouth.edu
  2. The Imperative (Command form) in German (Imperativ) - germanveryeasy.com
  3. The Imperative - germanforenglishspeakers.com