How To Make Requests In Spanish and Alternative Ways to Give Commands

Published on 01/12/2010 in Learning Spanish

Learning SpanishIn this Spanish lesson for today we will learn three alternative ways of how to give commands or how to make requests in the Spanish language. But let's first look at a common mistake that English speakers make when making requests in Spanish. In English, we have a tendency to sometimes give commands or make a request by using the future tense phrased as a question. For example:

Will you get up?
Will you shut up?

But in Spanish, you cannot give a command or make a request by using the future tense formed as a question. It would be absolutely WRONG in Spanish to make the above commands or requests by saying:

¿Te levantarás? (wrong)
¿Te callarás? (wrong)

Now let's look at three different alternative methods of giving commands or making requests in Spanish:

Method 1:

In Spanish, you may use the verb "querer" plus an infinitive form of a verb to accomplish the above:

¿Quieres levantarte? (correct)
¿Quieres callarte? (correct)

The above literally means "do you want to get up?" and "do you want to shut up?"

Method 2:

Let's look at another method of giving commands in Spanish. Sometimes you will see in recipes, newspaper ads, instructions, directions, etc., the infinitive form of a verb used to give commands or make requests:

Secar el pollo, pasarlo por harina y freírlo en aceite hirviendo.
Dry the chicken, dip it in flour and fry it in boiling oil.

No fumar.
Do not smoke.
Tapar las papas.
Put the lid on the potatoes.

Method 3:

You can also use the infinitive instead of the command form to stress politeness:

Hágame el favor de llamarme.
Please call me.
Literally "do me the favor of calling me."

I hope you found this lesson useful.


Written by: Pat Jackson

About the author:

Pat Jackson is the founder of Learning Spanish Like Crazy. If you would like to learn more about the ultimate Spanish verb conjugator and get immediate access to 10 FREE learning Spanish videos from one of our native Spanish speaking instructors.

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