Things your Spanish teacher never taught you: Giving commands!


When I was in high school Spanish, I remember always being frustrated by forming commands. It seems confusing that there were so many different conjugations just to say “Sit down” or “Talk!” I would just avoid ever forming them and just use tener + que + verb (tienes que sentarte) instead.

A few years ago, I really started studying them and made myself learn them and practice them! Here are some silly tips about forming commands that might help you remember them better. This is just for regular conjugations, not the irregulars!

  1. Informal Affirmative Tú Commands – This means you want someone to do something. You would use these with students or friends. Since you use the tú form when talking to friends, it is usually a easy conversation to have- just like forming the command!
  • Just think about the tú form and drop the -s
    • hablas- habla
    • comes- come
    • caminas – camina

Easy peasy, just like talking to friends!

2. Formal Affirmative Usted Commands- This would be a command given to a parent or another older teacher or someone you are not close to or want to be polite to. These conversations tend to be harder or a little more stressful. Just like forming the command takes one extra step!

  • Think about the tú form command, drop the s, but change the ending to the opposite (a to ee to a) or the present subjunctive if you want to be fancy
    • hablas- hablae- hable
    • comes- comea- coma
    • caminas- caminae- camine

One extra step, but not too bad!

These are the first two basic commands I thought I would share with you. You would use these when talking to one person, not a group. So, when you forget how to form a command when talking to someone, think easy peasy when talking to friends and just drop the -s and when you are using usted, just do one extra step and change the ending to the opposite.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if you have any tips you like to use when speaking Spanish!


Things you did not learn in Spanish class… Apologizing!

IMG_20161224_130859Lo siento… Sorry in Spanish, right? Wrong! Well kind of… It depends on the context. Today, I want to write about something that has confused me in Spanish for the longest time and share my thoughts and some tips if you are a Spanish learner. I started learning Spanish in high school and have been practicing and learning ever since. As a pre-k assistant, I had to constantly tell my students to apologize to their friends, for hitting each other, stealing their toys, or cutting in line. I would always say, “Dile lo siento…” thinking it meant our equivalent of “Tell him sorry” or “Say sorry.”

After saying this a few hundred times and hearing native speakers, I realized this was not the best way to apologize and the Spanish language had a few different ways to express being sorry.  Here are the three I have found that might help if you are wondering the best way to apologize in different contexts or ask students to apologize.

  1. Lo siento

The literal meaning of this means ” I feel it.” This would be appropriate if someone is telling you about losing a family member or complaining about their life. You are offering sympathy when you say this. The English equivalent might be something like ” I am sorry to hear that.”

2. Perdón, Perdóname, Perdóneme 

The literal meaning of the first one would be “Sorry” and the next two would be “Forgive me”  in the informal and formal conjugations. If you bump into someone, you would just say “perdón” and that would just act as an English “excuse me,” “pardon me,” or just “sorry.” The other two you would use if you are asking someone for forgiveness after you made a mistake. You can also use disculpa/disculpe for these situations but it seems a little formal.

3. Pedir disculpas, pedir perdón 

This is what I should have been saying to my students when I wanted them to apologize to each other. “Pedir” means to ask so these would literally mean, ” to ask for apologies” and “to ask forgiveness.”

So… when you want to tell a student to apologize to another student, instead of “dile lo siento” you can say anyone of these:

  • tienes que pedirle disculpas/perdón
  • quiero que le pidas disculpas/perdón
  • Pídele perdón/ Pídele disculpas


Thank you for reading! I hope this helped and as you know, I am not a native speaker so if you see something incorrect here, please let me know! Gracias 🙂