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Usted Commands for Medical Spanish in the Clinic

Usted Commands for Medical Spanish in the Clinic

Giving instructions, suggestions and requesting things is a daily aspect of working with patients. In order to say something like: “sit down, please”, “follow me”, “wait here for a moment”, “breathe deeply”, “breathe normal”; you have to use the command form in Spanish.

So in this free Medical Spanish lesson, you will learn how to give Usted commands in Spanish with everyday verbs you would use in the clinic: Mandatos Usted para español médico en la clínica.

In this free medical Spanish lesson you will learn:

  • Command tense endings: -AR, -ER & -IR verbs
  • Reflexive verbs in the imperative
  • -car, -gar, -zar Verbs in the imperative
  • Irregular verbs in the imperative (usted)

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

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Download the Usted Commands for Medical Spanish Notes TODAY

Mandatos Usted – Usted Commands

Credits: CDC 

Every time you give a quick little suggestion, a command or an instruction in the clinic (i.e.: follow me, take a seat, etc.), and you want to do the same in Spanish, you need to start using EL IMPERATIVO.

El imperativo, that is to say, the command form, can be used with the forms “usted” and “tú”. In this lesson we are going to study the Usted Commands.

Ejemplos del Imperativo (formal)

  • Tome asiento por favor: Take a seat, please.
  • Espere aquí y le llamamos pronto: Wait here, we’ll call you soon.
  • No coma por 12 horas antes de la cirugía: Don’t eat for 12 hours before the surgery.
  • Beba mucha agua con este medicamento: Drink a lot of water with this medication.
  • Suba las escaleras con la pierna buena primero: Go upstairs with the good leg first.
  • No resista la presión que aplico: Don’t resist the pressure that I’m applying.
  • Acuéstese boca arriba por favor: Lie down on your back, please.
  • Lávese las manos varias veces por día: Wash your hands several times a day.
  • Quítese los zapatos y la chaqueta pero no se quite los pantalones ni la camisa por favor: Take off your shoes and jacket, but please keep your pants and shirt on.

You are probably wondering how these verbs are formed since their normal conjugation are quite different. Don’t worry, there is an explanation 🙂


Command Tense Endings

For the Usted Command, 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

-AR Verbs

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

  1. Yo form: respiro
  2. Drop the “o”: Respiro
  3. Add the opposite ending: Respire
Usted command: Respire Ustedes command: Respiren

-ER/-IR Verbs

In this case, we are going to use the verbs COMER (to eat) and RESISTIR (to resist) as examples.

  1. Yo form: como / resisto
  2. Drop the “o”: como / resisto
  3. Add the opposite ending: coma / resista
Usted command: Coma / ResistaUstedes command: Coman / Resistan

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

Now you know how to get the command form conjugation, it’s time to talk about the reflexive verbs.

As you might notice on the first examples, the command form for the reflexive verbs is different for the affirmative and the negative.

Affirmative commands:

For the affirmative commands, “se” is attached at the end of the verb.

  • Usted: siéntese (take a seat)
  • Ustedes: siéntense (sit down you all)

Negative commands:

For the negative commands, the “se” comes before the verb.

  • Usted: no se siente (don’t sit down)
  • Ustedes: no se sienten (don’t sit down you all)
Credits: National Cancer Institute

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

You may recognize -car, -gar, -zar verbs and their irregular endings in the “yo” form of the preterite tense. They’re tricky in the usted command form as well.

The good news is the following pattern applies for both forms so the changes you need to make to the verbs are almost the same.

Let’s see how you can do it:

  • Buscar (to look for) car > que
    • Usted: busque
    • Ustedes: busquen
  • Pagar (to pay): gar > gue
    • Usted: pague
    • Ustedes: paguen
  • Empezar: -zar > -ce
    • Usted: empiece
    • Ustedes: empiecen

Note: The verbs “Empezar” and “Comenzar” (both means to begin or to start) do not fully follow this rule. The usted command forms are “empiece” and “comience” (notice the extra “i” after the root of the verb) but the preterite tense forms are “comencé” and “empecé” (without the “i”).

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

There also are some irregular verbs you probably use to give instructions in the clinic, so here you can find some of them in the usted command form:

  • Dar (to give) > dé / den
  • Estar (to be) > esté / estén
  • Ir (to go)> vaya / vayan
  • Saber (to know) > sepa / sepan
  • Ser (to be) > sea / sean

¡Gracias POR compartir su aventura de español conmigo!

Download the Usted 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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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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