Italian Grammar Tip

The imperative (l’imperativo) is used to give orders, advice, and exhortation: be good, stay home, let’s go.

In Italian you can find formal or informal imperative: the formal one is used with acquaintances, people you don’t know well or with whom you have a professional relationship.

The form is very simple and changes depending on the kind of verb we want to use.

With regular verbs:

  • first group – verbs e.g. cant-are – add the ending -i.studiare – Lei studi; mangiare – Lei mang– cantare – Lei canti
  • second and third group  – verbs e.g. mett-ere, dorm-ire add the ending -a: mettere – lei metta; dormire – lei dorm


These are the most frequent irregular verbs conjugated in formal ‘Lei’ imperative form:

  • fare – Lei faccia 
  • andare – Lei vada 
  • dire – Lei dica 
  • dare – Lei dia 
  • stare – Lei stia 
  • essere – Lei sia 
  • avere – Lei abbia 

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