D1A70204 Befehlformen [Command Forms] Commands (Befehle

Befehlformen [Command Forms ]
Commands (Befehle) are a special class of verb forms that you use when you wish to tell
someone to do something. Since you are talking to a person directly, you will need to use a form
of 'you'. Therefore, there must be three different forms of the command: one for 'du' (familiar
singular form- fs), one for 'ihr' (familiar plural form – fp), and one for 'Sie' (polite form – pol).
There are no future or past forms for commands, only present forms.
As you have already learned, there are regular verbs and strong verbs. If you are unsure of the
forms of 'du' for the strong verbs, you might find it helpful to review the forms of verbs like
'essen', 'waschen', 'fahren', 'geben', 'sprechen', 'nehmen', 'mitnehmen', etc. for 'du' as you will
need to know these forms to be able to make the command forms for strong verbs with stem
changes (see – Starke Verben).
Regular Verbs – verbs in which all forms use the verb stem as it appears in the infinitive.
Note! Commands in English almost always start with the verb form and do not include any
personal pronoun as a subject.
For the examples here, we will use three infinitives that demonstrate slightly different situations:
'fragen' [to ask] – a regular verb
'erklären' [to explain] – a regular verb with the stem containing an 'ä' as in 'erklär-'
'antworten auf + Akk [to answer ('auf' is not translated, but needed)] – a regular verb with the
stem ending in a '-t' as in 'antwort-'
Examples of polite commands which use 'Sie'
Fragen Sie ihn!
Erklären Sie es! [Explain it!]
Antworten Sie auf diese Frage! [Answer this question!]
How to create the command:
Use the polite form of the verb, place the 'Sie' after the verb, and use either a period or an
explanation mark to finish the command.
Familiar Commands – Singular (du)
Frag ihn!
Erklär das Problem!
Antwort(e)* auf diese Frage!
Plural (ihr)
Fragt ihn!
Erklärt die Geschichte!
Antwortet auf diese Frage!
How to create the command:
Use the familiar singuglar or the familiar plural form of the verb without the subject pronoun 'du'
or 'ihr' and without the '-st' or '-t' ending for 'du' [see 'S-Laut Verben']. You do use the '-t' ending
for 'ihr' forms. Use either a period or an explanation mark to finish the command.
* Command forms for 'du' that end in a '-t', often are followed by the letter '-e'.
Copyright © 2004 by Robert A. Morrey
Strong Verbs – for us now, these are verbs that have a different vowel in the stem of the
second person singular 'du' and third person singular 'er', etc. form as in:
du gibst
du isst
du siehst
mitnehmen du nimmst ... mit
du fährst
Polite commands and familiar plural commands are the same as for regular verbs.
Familiar Commands - Singular (du) – How to create the command:
1. Write the infinitive of the verb:
2. Next write the du-form of the verb:
(verbs without umlauts)
(verbs with umlauts for the 'du' and 'er' forms)
du nimmst
du bäckst
du isst
du fährst
3. Remove the 'du' and the '-(s)t' ending; remove the umlaut IF the infinitive has no umlaut
Special Forms
The forms of this verb do not follow the patterns above. They must be learned!!!
sein [to be ]
Sei ['du' form]
Seid! ['ihr' form]
All forms mean: Be!
Seien Sie! ['Sie' form]
Sei um sechs Uhr hier! [Be (fs) here at six o'clock!]
Fahr nicht so schnell! [Don't drive (fs) so fast!]
Nehmen Sie die Bücher mit! [Take (pol) the books along !]
Sprechen Sie Deutsch, bitte! [Speak (pol) German, please!]
Johann und Luise, esst das Abendessen [John & Louise, eat (fp) the/your dinner!]
Karl und du, wascht die Hände! [You and Karl, wash (fp) your hands !]
Sei nett zu deinem Bruder! [Be (fs) nice to your brother!]
Kommt um sechs zu uns! [Come(fp) to our place at six !]
Spielen Sie Fussball heute! [Play (pol) soccer today !]
Spielen Sie Fussball heute? [Do you play soccer today ? – Note the punctuation differences!]
Copyright © 2004 by Robert A. Morrey