There may be times when you in charge of a group of people and they’ve got to do what you tell them. Or perhaps you want to ask a favor from your colleagues or make a request of a friend. In any of these cases, you’re likely to use the imperative. 

In Arabic, just as it is in many other languages, the imperative is used to request or command. For example, let’s say you’re walking to school, but your faithful dog, Fido, started following you. At some point, you’ll likely turn around and tell the poor pooch:

“اِذْهَب إلى البَيْت”

/iTHhab ’ilaa ilbayt/

“Go home!”

Thus, you’ll be using the imperative by commanding the dog to go home.

Forming the Imperative 

In Arabic, the imperative is derived from the Present Tense. For example:

In the present we say: (يَذْهَبُ) / yaTHhabu / “He goes”; however, in the imperative, it’s simply (اذْهَبْ) /iTHhab/ or “Go!” 

Other examples include:



He writes



he calls








What’s more, imperatives are only formed in the second person:



you (m.)



you (f.)



you (plural)

Here are some examples of each:



Write! (m.)



Write! (f.)



Write! (plural)



Go! (m.)



Go! (f.)



Go! (plural)

Don’t You Do It!

Just as you would request or command somebody to do something, so you can command or request somebody NOT to do something. This is called negating, and you can negative the imperative by adding لا/laa to the present form of the verb. For instance:

لا تُقابِلْ توم اليَوْم

/laa tuqaabil toom ilyawm/

Do not meet Tom today!

Don’t Overdo It!

There are many ways to express a large amount in English. For example, you say “a lot”, “very”, “lots of”, and “very much”. However, in Arabic, you can use just one word to replace all of those words in English and that word is in Arabic is كَثيراً/katheeran.

To use it in the imperative, simply add it to the end of the sentence, like so:

لا تَشْرَب القَهْوَةَ كَثيراً

/laa tashrab ilqahwata katheeran/

Don’t drink a lot of coffee. (m)

لا تَشْرَبي القَهْوَةَ كَثيراً

/laa tashrabee ilqahwata katheeran/

Don’t drink a lot of coffee. (f)

So that’s it, for today, but before we go, we’d like to make a request of you: 

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