Latin/Imperatives Lesson 1

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Salvēte omnēs! Welcome back to Latin for Wikiversity. Here you can peruse a new lesson in Latin, in a simple format. If you would like to catch up, you can find a directory of lessons, a classified vocabulary list, and Memrise courses at the links on the right.

We’ll learn how to use imperatives in this lesson. The imperative is a "mood" of verbs: so far we’ve studied the indicative mood, which is used for observations of fact. But the imperative is used to give commands. An imperative verb is bossy; like a bossy person, it (usually) pushes to the front of a sentence.

Imperatives are formed in both singular and plural; because they are always addressed to “you” in second person, it’s necessary to decide whether you are speaking to you (singular) or you (plural). We’ve already encountered some imperatives used in conversational phrases. For the four conjugations, look at these model verbs to see how the imperative forms are typically constructed.

Verb Command sing Command pl English
portō portā! portāte! carry!
valeō valē! valēte! be well!
mittō mitte! mittite! send!
veniō venī venīte! come!
nōlō nōlī + inf nolīte + inf Don't …

For our sentences, we’ll give both singular and plural forms in Latin: usually the English translation will be the same for both. We’ll do irregular imperatives and imperatives for deponent verbs in a future lesson.

New Sentences

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Latin English Notes
Venī / Venīte hīc! Come here!
Venī / Venīte mēcum! Come with me!
Manē / Manēte domī! Stay home!
Manē / Manēte nōbīscum! Stay with us!
Portā hoc tēcum! Take this with you!
Portāte haec vōbīscum! Take these with you!
Spectā / Spectāte eum! Look at him!
Aperī / Aperīte ostium (januam)! Open the door!
Claude / Claudite fenestram! Close the window! claudō, claudere, clausī, clausus 3 = close, shut
Mitte / Mittite epistulam! Send the letter!
Invenī / Invenīte librum! Find the book!
Labōrā / Labōrāte cum Patre! Work with Dad!
Indue / Induite tunicam novam! Put on a new shirt!
Tenē / Tenēte fīdem! Keep the faith!
Servā / Servāte hoc! Keep this! servo and teneo are used somewhat interchangeably
Pōne / Pōnite patellās in mēnsam! Put the plates on the table!
Dā / Dāte mihi pecūniam! Give me the money!
Cape / Capite hanc pecūniam! Take this money!
Nōlī / Nōlīte timēre! Do not be afraid! Literally, “be unwilling to fear!”
Nōlī / Nōlīte tangere! Do not touch! tangō, tangere, tetigī, tāctus 3 = touch
Tolle, lege. Take and read/ Pick it up and read it. St. Augustine
Age quod agis. Do what you do, Be mindful of what you are doing.
Avē atque valē. Hail and farewell. Catullus
Cavē canem. Beware of the dog.
Dīvide et imperā. Divide and rule.  
Festinā lentē. Make haste slowly. Augustus


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Thank you for following along with these Latin lessons. Valēte et habēte bonam fortūnam!