Spanish imperative negative + pronouns

imperative negative spanish pronouns

The Spanish structure imperativo negativo + pronombres enclíticos is a bit controversial topic since many Spanish students get confused when using it. Los pronombres enclíticos work as suffixes that go along with the verb and we place them at the end of it. These might be, me, te, se, lo, los, la, las, le, les, os.


Students’ confusion arises when they need to differentiate how to use el imperativo negativo or el imperativo afirmativo together with los pronombre encliticos. It’s because, with el imperativo afirmativo, they build single-word verbs. On the other side, with el imperativo negativo, you must write them separately. It’s important to learn how to use el imperativo negativo + pronombres enclíticos because it’ll help you give instructions, advice, and orders in many different ways. Then, if you want to keep moving forward in your Spanish learning journey, read on.


How to use the imperativo negativo + pronombres enclíticos


As we said, los pronombres enclíticos are usually placed after the verb and attached to it. But this is only in the case of the affirmative imperative. Now, if we talk about the imperativo negativo, we must put the pronombre enclítico before the verb. But, this time, the pronoun is separate from the verb. Also, using the word “no” is necessary and we will place it before the noun. Let’s see a few examples.


No me digas qué hacer, soy lo suficientemente adulta como para cuidarme sola y tomar mis propias decisiones.

Don’t tell me what to do, I’m old enough to take care of myself and make my own decisions.


No me sigas, ve tú delante de mí, yo no sé mucho de direcciones y puedo hacer que nos perdamos.

Don’t follow me, go ahead of me, I don’t know much about directions and I can make us get lost.


No me llame más, ya estoy cansada de la insistencia de usted.

Don’t call me anymore, I’m tired of your insistence.


How to use the imperativo negativo + pronombres reflexivos


When we talk about the imperativo negativo with the pronombre reflexivos, we are really talking about the pronombres enclíticos. This is because the pronombres reflexivos are a subcategory of the pronombres enclíticos. Having this clear, the pronombres reflexivos changes their position with the imperative depending on whether it is affirmative or negative.


If we use it with el imperativo afirmativo, then we will place the pronombre reflexivo after the verb. In this case, we form a single word. Taking into account that the reflexive pronouns are me, te, se, nos, os, and se, we can build a formula like this,


Verb + pronombre reflexivo


For example,


Levántate que nos vamos a casa de tu abuela. / Get up, we’re going to your grandmother’s house.


Now, if we use el imperativo negativo with these pronouns, we have to place the reflexivo before the verb. In addition, we must place the adverb of negation “no” before the pronombre reflexivo. A simple formula for this can be like the one below,


No + pronombre reflexivo + verb


Here are some examples below,


No te levantes todavía que aún no nos vamos, estamos esperando que tu papá venga a buscarnos para ir a casa de tu abuela.

Don’t get up yet that we are still not leaving, we’re waiting for your dad to come pick us up to go to your grandmother’s house.


Él no se compró un carro nuevo, lo que hizo fue alquilar uno último modelo para poder cambiarlo el año que viene.

He did not buy a new car, what he did was rent a late model to be able to change it next year.


Yo no me acuerdo del suceso ya que era muy pequeña, pero mis padres sí deben acordarse.

I don’t remember the event since I was very young, but my parents must remember.


Please note that these pronouns will be reflexive only if the effect of the verb falls on the same subject. For example, the phrase “no te levantes” is reflexive since “levantes” and “te” are used with the 2nd person singular tú.


How to use the imperativo negativo + pronombres de complemento directo and indirecto.


Another of the subcategory of the pronombres enclíticos is the pronombres de complemento directo and indirecto. In the case of the complemento directo, it changes its position depending on whether the imperative is affirmative or negative. These pronouns are lo, la, los, and las.


If we talk about the affirmative, we place these pronouns after the verb, forming a single word. For example, tráelo. However, in the case of the negative, we put the pronoun before the verb, also adding the adverb of negation “no”. Here are some examples,


No lo traigas aún, espera a que termine de limpiar. / Don’t bring it in yet, wait for it to finish cleaning.


There are also those of the complemento indirecto. This also changes its position in the same way as the complemento directo with the affirmative and negative imperative. But in this case, the only pronouns are le and les. An example of the affirmative would be the word escríbele. In the case of the negative, you have to place the pronouns before the verb and add the adverb of negation. For example,


No le escribas hoy, debe estar ocupado, espera a mañana con más calma.

Do not write to him today, he must be busy, wait for tomorrow more calmly.


There is a way to put the complemento directo and the indirecto in a single sentence. When this happens, the pronombre de complemento indirecto goes first. We can build its structure like this,


Imperativo + pronombre de complemento indirecto + pronombre de complemento directo


For example,


No te la pongas con ese sombrero, póntela mejor con unos lentes.

Don’t wear it with that hat, wear it better with some glasses.


In summary, the best way to differentiate the reflexivo from the complementos indirectos and directos is by identifying who is the one receiving the effect of the verb. If the action of the verb falls on the same person who says it, then it is reflexivo.

As you may see, every time you use the structure imperativo negativo + pronombres enclíticos we use the Spanish word “no” and then the pronoun. Then, all you need to do is to learn these pronouns and take advantage to express yourself better when speaking. Mastering this topic can take a bit of time but we can assure you that you’ll have no regrets.



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