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Tú Commands in Spanish for Healthcare and Clinical Interactions with Young Patients

Tú Commands in Spanish for Healthcare and Clinical Interactions with Young Patients

Medical Spanish Tú commands are a little bit tricky. When you work with kids in the clinical setting, you use commands all the time. Simple things like: “open your mouth”, “say ah”, “follow my finger”, etc are all commands.

The tricky part of Tú commands in Spanish is that the affirmative (+) command is formed differently than the (-) command. In this lesson, you will learn how to use (+) and (-) Tú commands in Spanish. Enjoy!

In this free Medical Spanish lesson you will learn:

  • Affirmative and Negative Tú command tense endings for -AR, -ER & -IR verbs
  • Reflexive verbs in the imperative
  • Irregular Tú commands

Here is the Tú Commands for Medical Spanish lesson that I taught on YouTube and to our Facebook group:

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Download the Tú Commands for Medical Spanish Notes TODAY

Mandatos Tú – Tú Commands

In our last lesson, we talked about commands in Spanish also, but using the “Usted” command form. Today, we are going to talk about the commands with “Tú” and when to use it with your Spanish-speaking patients.

To be honest, using the imperative with the “tú” form is a little bit more complicated that the “usted” form, and this is because the affirmative and the negative forms and totally different.

Ejemplos del Imperativo (informal) – Examples of the Imperative (informal)

SpanishEnglish
Toma asiento por favorTake a seat, please
Espera aquí y te llamamos prontoWait here, we’ll call you soon
No comas por 12 horas antes de la cirugíaDon’t eat for 12 hours before the surgery
Bebe mucha agua con este medicamentoDrink a lot of water with this medication
Sube las escaleras con la pierna buena primeroGo upstairs with the good leg first
No resistas la presión que aplicoDon’t resist the pressure that I’m applying
Acuéstate boca arriba por favorLie down on your back, please
Lávate las manos varias veces por díaWash your hands several times a day
Quítate los zapatos y la chaqueta pero no te quites los pantalones
ni la camisa por favor
Take off your shoes and jacket, but please keep your pants and shirt on

As you can see, in the “tú” form, the verbs don’t follow an obvious normal conjugation rule. So let’s find out how you can use them in EL IMPERATIVO.


Tú Command Tense Endings

The affirmative “tú” command is pretty easy to form. You just need to conjugate the verb in the third person of the singular and use it as a command

(+) Tú command = 3a persona singular (forma “Él, Ella, Usted”). ex. “habla” , “respira”, “come”, etc.

However, the negative command is more complicated to create. You need to use the usted commands plus and “s”.

For the Usted Command, remember you need to follow 3 simple rules:

  1. Go to the “yo” form of the present tense.
  2. Drop the “o”
  3. Add the opposite ending
    • -AR > e
    • -ER & -IR > a

(-)Tú command = Usted Command + “s”.

-AR Verbs

Let’s apply the Tú affirmative command rule to the verb RESPIRAR (to breathe)

  • Respirar (To breathe): Él, Ella, Usted: Respira
  • Tú command: Respira, por favor (breathe, please).

And now let’s take a look at the negative command:

  • (-)Tú command = Usted Command + “s”.
    • Usted command: No respire
    • Tú command: No respires

-ER/-IR Verbs

As we did in our past lesson, we are going to use the verbs COMER (to eat) and RESISTIR (to resist) as examples.

1. Affirmative Tú Command

  • Comer (To eat): Él, Ella, Usted: Come
  • Tú command: Come, por favor (Eat, please).
  • Resistir (To resist): Él, Ella, Usted: Resiste
  • Tú command: Resiste, por favor (Resist, please).

2. Negative Tú Command

  • Usted command: No coma / resista
  • Tú command: No comas / resistas

Verbos reflexivos en el imperativo – Reflexive Verbs in the Command Form

In the affirmative form, the reflexive “te” is going to get attached at the end.

Afirmativo > “te” al final
Tú… Siéntate

But in the negative form, the “te” is added before the verb.

Negativo > “te” antes
Tú…No te sientes

As you may see, getting the negative commands require more steps to follow 🙂

Verbos -car, -gar, -zar en el imperativo

Credits: Photo by nrd 

-car, -gar, -zar Verbs change depending on if we are using or not the Usted command.

Let’s see how it works:

  • Buscar (to look for) car > que
    • (+) Tú: busca
    • (-) Tú: no busques (it is related to the usted command)
  • Pagar (to pay): gar > gue
    • (+) Tú: paga
    • (-) Tú: no pagues
  • Empezar: -zar > -ce
    • (+) Tú: empieza
    • (-) Tú: no empieces

Verbos irregulares en el imperativo – Irregular Verbs in the Command Form

Here we are going to try something different. Do you know Vin Diesel? Yes, him! No, no! I’m not crazy, I promise 😉

Now, imagine a German talking about how many guns Vin Diesel has…

Ven – Di – Sal – Haz – Ten – Ve – Pon

EnglishSpanish(+) (-)
To comeVenirVenNo vengas
To say / tellDecirDiNo digas
To go outSalir SalNo salgas
To do / make HacerHazNo hagas
To have TenerTen No tengas
To go Ir Ve No vayas
To putPonerPon No pongas

Download the Tú Commands for Medical Spanish Notes TODAY

Su tarea – Your Homework

  1. Review the notes & vocabulary
  2. Identify additional points and topics to discuss with patients
    • Let me know if you need help 🙂
  3. Remember to keep it simple if you need to
  4. Ask for help in the comments below
  5. Give it a try with your patients!

Now it’s your turn! I packaged all of this vocabulary in Spanish into some flashcards for you to study.

I packaged all of this into easily downloadable .pdf notes–Get your copy for free today!

Keep up the good work speaking responsible Spanish to your patients! Check out our other books, classes & products to help you learn medical Spanish!

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If you think you are ready to take the plunge with your Spanish, we would love the opportunity to work with you in Ecuador or Costa Rica during our immersion programs 🙂

Rory Foster
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Rory is passionate about the Spanish language, an expert instructor, and specifically energized by the practical use of language in industry & community settings.
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