25 Section 3-1

Kapitel 3

In Chapter 2, you continued your study of verbs by learning about stem-changing verbs. You used the stem-changing verb geben, in the expression “es gibt,” which means “there is” or “there are.”


         Es gibt einen Fluss in Nordalabama.       (There is a river in North Alabama.)

         Es gibt ein Meer im Süden.                       (There is a sea in the south.)


We can also use the verb haben to describe what landmarks certain areas have.


         Unsere Stadt hat einen See.                     (Our city has a lake.)

         Das Land hat viele Hügel.                          (The country has many hills.)


Remember! The direct object, the noun that follows the verb, must be in the accusative case! (i.e. masculine adds –en to the definite or indefinite article.)

Ex. A: Beschreiben Sie Ihre Heimat! Describe your homeland. What landscape features are there? Use the verb haben and the expression es gibt to write at least five sentences.

Ex. B: Geographie. Go to Germanzone.org’s website and do the following exercises.





Ex. C: Wo liegt…? Using a map of Europe, describe what the following things are and where they are located.

           Beispiel: A: Was ist Spanien?

                          B: Spanien ist ein Land.

                          A: Wo liegt Spanien?

                          B: Spanien liegt im Westen.

  1. Finnland
  2. Berlin
  3. die Nordsee
  4. Italien
  5. der Rhein
  6. die Alpen (plural!)
  7. Kreta
  8. die Donau

Ex. D: Nicos Weg. Episode 19: In Europa. Watch episode 19 of Nicos Weg and do the online activities. You will review word order and the indefinite pronoun “man.” Don’t forget that German word order can vary as long as the verb comes in second position.


  • Man isst Pizza in Italien.
  • Pizza isst man in Italien.
  • In Italien isst man Pizza.

Note–the verb still comes second!




Want to test your German knowledge of Geography? Go to germanzone.org’s website and to see how much you already know.


Ex. E: Nicos Weg. Episode 20: Andere Länder. Watch the video and do the online activities. You will review the stem-changing verb sprechen, to speak. Don’t forget that its stem changes from “e” to “i” at the du and er/sie/es forms.



3.1: Imperativ

In this chapter, you will continue using the same verbs you learned in chapters 1 and 2 to make commands. With the imperative, you can tell people to do things.

Englische Beispiele:

  • Go home!
  • Do your homework!
  • Drink more water!

In all of these examples, the verb comes first. Similarly, the verb comes first in German commands.

Deutsche Beispiele:

  • Gehen Sie nach Hause!
  • Machen Sie Ihre Hausaufgaben!
  • Trinken Sie mehr Wasser!


*probieren—to try something (food, a new sport, hobby, etc.)

Because German has different words for “you” that imply different levels of acquaintance, i.e. du vs. Sie vs. ihr, there will be different forms of commands. We will begin with Sie commands.

The good news is that there is only one verb with an irregular imperative form: sein–to be.

Sie imperative for sein: Seien Sie!

  • Seien Sie glücklich!                             (Be happy!)
  • Seien Sie optimistisch!                       (Be optimistic!)
  • Seien Sie nicht so pessimistisch!      (Don’t be so pessimistic!)

Video. Click to see me reteaching imperative for “Sie.”


Ex. A: Imperativ! Form polite commands out of the cues below. You may need to add definite or indefinite articles or prepositions.

               Beispiel: fahren/Vermont

                             →Fahren Sie nach Vermont.

  1. essen/Gemüse
  2. sein/ruhig
  3. werden/gesund
  4. trinken/mehr Wasser
  5. lesen/Zeitung
  6. wandern/im Park
  7. fahren/New York
  8. tragen/Jacke

Ex. B: Guter Rat. Read the following situations and respond with appropriate advice in the form of a Sie command. Bonus: Give more than one command as advice!

              Beispiel: Ich bin müde.

                           →Schlafen Sie!

How to soften a command:

Sometimes, a command can sound a little too direct. If you want to soften a command and not sound so authoritarian, you can add the word doch or mal. Doch and mal are flavoring particles that can soften a command to make it sound more like a suggestion. As always, you can always add bitte, please, to make a command not so direct.

  • Trinken Sie doch mehr Wasser!     (You should) drink more water.
  • Probieren Sie mal den italienischen Kuchen!    Just try the Italian cake!
  • Gehen Sie bitte ins Bett. Du siehst müde aus.   Please go to bed. You look tired.


Negative Commands:

In order to make a command negative, all you have to do is negate it with nicht or kein. In Chapter 1, you learned that to negate adjectives or adverbs, we use the word nicht in front of them.

  • Ich bin nicht pessimistisch!             (I am not pessimistic!)

To negate direct objects, nicht comes after the direct object.

  • Ich kaufe den Computer nicht.        (I’m not buying the computer.)

To negate a prepositional phrase, nicht comes before the preposition.

  • Ich bleibe nicht in Spanien.            (I’m not staying in Spain.)

To negate indefinite articles, aka forms of the word ein, we add a “k” to make it kein-.

  • Ich esse keine Schokolade.            (I eat no chocolate.)

To negate a command, we will use these same rules.

  • Seien Sie nicht so pessimistisch!       (Don’t be so pessimistic!)
  • Kaufen Sie den Computer nicht!       (Don’t buy the computer!)
  • Bleiben Sie nicht in Spanien!              (Don’t stay in Spain!)
  • Essen Sie keine Schokolade!               (Don’t eat any chocolate!)

To soften these commands, add the flavoring particle mal. Flavoring particles have no English equivalent, but they do change the feeling of the command.

  • Essen Sie mal keine Schokolade!      (Mal softens the command.)

To try to persuade someone with your command, you can add the flavoring particle doch.

  • Seien Sie doch nicht so pessimistisch!        (Doch tries to convince!)
  • Bleiben Sie doch nicht in Spanien!

And, as always, it never hurts to use the word bitte, please, in a command.

  • Kaufen Sie den Computer bitte nicht!

Ex. C: Bitte nicht! Using the cues, make negative commands to tell your partner not to do the following things.

           Beispiel: sein/faul

                      →Seien Sie nicht faul!

  1. schwimmen/am Montag
  2. wohnen/in Tokio
  3. tanzen/in der Disco
  4. singen/Rap-Musik
  5. tragen/Jacke
  6. kochen/Suppe
  7. lesen/Zeitung
  8. fragen/Professor
  9. fliegen/nach Russland

Ex. D: Lieber Freund…ich habe ein Problem! Lesen Sie die Situation. Schreiben Sie ein paar Vorschläge. Tell the person what to do or NOT to do in order to solve his problem, using polite commands.


Ex. E: Touristen. You have just met a German tourist in your area who wants to know what he should do here. You may want to use some of the landmarks at the beginning of the chapter.

  • Use the polite imperative (since you’re talking to a stranger).
  • Use flavoring particles doch and mal.
  • Use both positive and negative commands.

          Beispiel: Essen Sie doch bei Ricatonis. Essen Sie nicht bei McDonalds.


Ex. F: Auf Deutsch! Translate the following commands into German, using the Sie-imperative. Add flavoring particles as necessary.

  1. Swim faster!
  2. Don’t work so long!
  3. Ask your professor.
  4. Read the newspaper.
  5. Speak louder!
  6. Don’t drive so fast!
  7. Don’t sleep so late!
  8. Stay home today.
  9. Wait here.


Wir-Imperativ: Let’s _________!

We can also form the imperative with the wir-form of the verb. In English, this translates to the “let’s” form.

  • Let’s eat!
  • Let’s discuss the problem.
  • Let’s earn some money.

To make this form in German, we put the verb first and THEN the pronoun wir.

  • Essen wir!
  • Besprechen wir das Problem.
  • Verdienen wir Geld.

Wir-imperative: INFINITIVE + WIR.

Just like Sie-Commands, there is only one verb that is irregular—sein.

  • Seien wir nicht so kritisch!         (Let’s not be so critical!)
  • Seien wir pünktlich.                     (Let’s be punctual.)

Video. Click the link to watch me reteaching “let’s” commands.


„Gehen wir ________.“

You can combine several verbs together with the verb gehen, especially when using the wir-imperative.


Often, you will see verbs listed together with gehen.

  • schwimmen gehen—to go swimming
  • tanzen gehen—to go dancing
  • einkaufen gehen—to go shopping

To make a wir-command out of them, we will conjugate the last verb.

  • Gehen wir schwimmen!                     Let’s go swimming!
  • Gehen wir tanzen!                               Let’s go dancing!
  • Gehen wir einkaufen!                         Let’s go shopping!


You might see phrases listed like this as well with a noun or prepositional phrase in front and a verb infinitive after it.

  • Fußball spielen—to play soccer
  • ins Bett gehen—to go to bed
  • Musik hören—to listen to music

Make sure to conjugate the verb and put the rest of the phrase after that.

  • Die Kinder spielen Fußball.          The children are playing soccer.
  • Du gehst ins Bett.                           You’re going to bed.
  • Markus hört Musik.                        Markus is listening to music.

Ex. G: Machen wir das! With a partner, take turns suggesting that you do the following activities, using the wir-imperative.

       Beispiel: schwimmen gehen

   A: Gehen wir schwimmen!   (Let’s go swimming!)

   B: Ja, machen wir das!   (Yes, let’s do that!)


   B: Nein, lieber nicht.   (No, I’d rather not.)


  1. Nudeln kochen
  2. ins Restaurant gehen
  3. Karaoke singen
  4. spazieren gehen
  5. die Landschaft malen
  6. Fotos machen
  7. nach Hause laufen
  8. mit den Haien surfen
  9. eine Pizza bestellen

Ex. H: Wir planen eine Party! Sie planen eine Party mit Ihren Freunden. Machen Sie viele Vorschläge mit dem Imperativ.

  • Was werden wir kochen?
  • Was werden wir tun?
  • Was für Musik werden wir hören?
  • Was werden wir spielen?
  • …usw


Ex. I: Auf Deutsch! Übersetzen Sie ins Deutsche!

  1. Let’s play tennis!
  2. Let’s work at home today.
  3. Let’s order chicken and a salad.
  4. Let’s visit our grandparents.
  5. Let’s not wait here.
  6. Let’s go shopping!
  7. Let’s go jogging.
  8. Let’s not stay in Europe.
  9. Let’s be healthy!

Ex. J: Planen wir unseren Tag! Sie haben heute frei. Planen Sie Ihren Tag mit einem Partner. Benutzen Sie den wir-Imperativ mit den folgenden Verben.

(Hint: make a short list of verbs you want to use first!)



Ex. K: Wiederholung! Using your answers to Ex. J, write a brief paragraph summarizing your plans in the future tense, which you learned in chapter 2. For example, if you and your partner said, “Reisen wir nach England!” you would restate that in the future tense as “Wir werden nach England reisen.”



Video: We now interrupt this section on the imperative to suggest the following Easy German video on gestures in German! The first few are similar to English.

Ex. L:  VideoNicos Weg.  Episode 21:  Was ist das?  Watch episode 21 and do the online activities.  You will review how to form plurals, which you learned in Chapter 1.


Du Commands:

When giving a command to someone that you know very well and to whom you would normally say “du,” you will need to form the commands differently. The good news is that the “du” form of commands is very close to how we form them in English, i.e., with only the verb.

         Geh nach Hause!                    (Go home!)

         Kauf das Brot.                         (Buy the bread.)

         Halt!                                         (Stop!)

         Schlaf nicht so lange.            (Don’t sleep so long.)

         Sei doch nicht so spät!          (Don’t be so late!)

Notice that we use the verb stem to form the du-command. Just like in English, the verb should come first.

           Geh nach Hause!                (geh-en)

           Kauf das Brot.                     (kauf-en)

           Halt!                                     (halt-en)

           Schlaf nicht so lange.        (schlaf-en)

           Sei doch nicht so spät!      (sei-n)

Also notice that, unlike Sie commands, we don’t use the word “du.”

If the verb stem ends in -d- or -t-, it often adds an “e” to the end of the command.

             Arbeite!                           (Work!)

             Finde die Kinder.           (Find the children.)

            Warte auf mich!              (Wait for me!)

…HOWEVER, in everyday speech, it sometimes gets dropped.

             Wart’ auf mich!


Ex. M: Mach das! Roleplay: You are a babysitter for a young child. Tell him what to do, using the du-imperative. Don’t forget that you can always add the flavoring particles doch and mal, as well as bitte.

                   Beispiel: eine Jacke tragen

                               →Trag doch eine Jacke!

  1. Hausaufgaben machen
  2. ins Bett gehen
  3. Milch trinken
  4. lernen
  5. hier bleiben
  6. die Katze suchen
  7. halten
  8. schlafen
  9. warten

Ex. N: Auf Deutsch! Übersetzen Sie ins Deutsche!

  1. Drive home.
  2. Don’t sleep so long.
  3. Please wait here.
  4. Go swimming.
  5. Don’t come home so late.
  6. Don’t be so lazy.
  7. Dance!
  8. Cook something.
  9. Don’t travel to Cuba.

Ex. O: Ich habe ein Problem. Give advice, using the du-imperative.

Listen to Steinwolke’s song, Katharine Katharine, 1983 to hear some simple du-commands.

Listen to Blümchen’s hit song, Komm auf meinen Stern, from the 90s, to hear examples of the imperative with du.  You should be able to understand most of the lyrics, which have many of the concepts from previous chapters.

Songtext:  https://genius.com/Blumchen-komm-auf-meinen-stern-lyrics

And here’s a later hit by Blümchen with more commands:  S.O.S. Herz in Not.

Songtext:  https://genius.com/Blumchen-sos-herz-in-not-lyrics

Wilhelmine’s song, Komm wie du bist, 2020, also has examples of du-imperative in it.

Text:  https://genius.com/Wilhelmine-komm-wie-du-bist-lyrics

In Chapter 2, you learned about stem-changing verbs, such as lesen and nehmen, whose stems change from e→i or ie. The stems of these verbs also change when conjugated…but only for du and er/sie/es.

              Du liest die Zeitung. (e→ie)

              Er nimmt das Schnitzel mit Pommes frites. (e→i)

To make an informal command, you will need to keep this stem-change. In the chart below, you can compare the infinitive with the conjugated form and finally the command form.

        Lies keine Comichefte.        (Don’t read any comic books.)

To sum it up, the command should not have the st verb ending on it.


In Chapter 2, you also learned about stem-changing verbs that change from a→ä. The good news is that these verbs don’t change the stem when forming the du-imperative.

          Fahr doch nicht so schnell!           (Don’t drive so fast!)

          Lauf mal nach Hause.                     (Run home.)

          Schlaf doch nicht so lange!           (Don’t sleep so long!)

Video. Click to watch me reteaching the du-imperative.

Watch YourGermanTeacher’s video to see a review of the difference between the du-imperative and Sie-imperative:

Ex. P: Mach es heute! Your friend says she will do the following things later. Using the informal imperative, tell her to do them today.

          Beispiel: Ich koche die Suppe am Freitag.

                      →Koch die Suppe doch heute!

  1. Ich arbeite morgen.
  2. Ich gehe am Donnerstag spazieren.
  3. Ich lerne für das Quiz nächste Woche.
  4. Ich mache meine Hausaufgaben am Sonntag.
  5. Ich esse gesund am Wochenende.
  6. Ich lese den Roman nächste Woche.
  7. Ich gehe am Donnerstag einkaufen.
  8. Ich fahre am Mittwoch zu Emma.
  9. Ich repariere den Computer nächsten Monat.

Ex. Q: Guter Rat. You meet an incoming freshman who knows nothing about life at UNA. Using the imperative, give him tips on what to do and what NOT to do.


                        Lern Deutsch!

                        Iss nicht bei McDonalds!…usw.

Ex. R: Video. Nicos Weg. Episode 22: Wem gehört das? Watch episode 22 and do the online activities. You will review indefinite articles and noun plurals, which you learned in Chapter 1.


Ihr Imperative:

To give a command to two or more people who you know very well, i.e. friends, classmates, family, you will form the imperative from the ihr-conjugation of the verb. Just like English, the verb will come first, and the word “ihr” will not be included.

       Step 1: Conjugate the verb for “ihr”→ihr geht

       Step 2: Get rid of the word “ihr”geht

       Finished command: Geht!


  • Geht nach Hause!                     (Go home!)
  • Sprecht doch auf Deutsch.     (Speak in German!)
  • Gebt mir mal den Salat.           (Give me the salad.)

Don’t worry about stem-changing verbs; remember—they only stem-change at du and er/sie/es, NOT ihr.

Video. Click to see me reteaching “ihr” commands.

Or watch YourGermanTeacher’s video to see him giving lots more examples with ihr-commands.  He also reviews Sie-commands for when you need to order around groups of people that you need to treat with respect.


Ex. S: Macht das! Using the verb infinitives below, tell your classmates to do the following things. You may need to put the appropriate endings on definite and indefinite articles. (Don’t forget that any direct objects must be in the accusative case, i.e. masculine gets an extra -en.)

               Beispiel: d- /Badeanzug/kaufen

                           →Kauft den Badeanzug.

  1. d-/Artikel/lesen
  2. d-Auto/fahren
  3. mein-/Badelatschen/finden
  4. d-/Professorin/fragen
  5. „Guten Morgen“/sagen
  6. schwimmen gehen
  7. ein-/Bild/zeichnen
  8. mir/eur-/Jacken/geben
  9. d-/Äpfel/essen

Video. Watch Easy German’s video about giving directions. In the box below are several helpful phrases from the video.








When asking for directions, you can phrase these questions using German that you already know.

  • Ich suche die Apotheke.                          I’m looking for the pharmacy.
  • Gibt es hier einen Supermarkt?             Is there a supermarket here?

Don’t forget that the direct object will go in the accusative case, i.e. masculine gets an extra -en.

To give directions, use the imperative.

  • Gehen Sie geradeaus.                           Go straight ahead.
  • Fahren Sie nach links.                           Drive to the left.
  • Laufen Sie in diese Richtung.              Run/walk in this direction.

If you know the person well, you can use an informal du-command.

  • Geh geradeaus.
  • Fahr nach links.
  • Lauf in diese Richtung.

If you want to suggest to your group of friends to go in a certain direction, you can always use the wir-command form.

  • Gehen wir geradeaus.                           Let’s go straight ahead.
  • Fahren wir nach links.                           Let’s drive to the left.
  • Laufen wir in diese Richtung.              Let’s run/walk in this direction.

If you want to tell someone to go past something, use the following construction with anvorbei, “past.”

  • Gehen Sie an „Moes“ vorbei.              Go past „Moes.“

Ex. T: Wir fragen nach der Richtung. Using the destinations on the same floor as your classroom, give directions on how to get there.

          Beispiel: die Toilette

                 A: Gibt es hier eine Toilette?/Ich suche die Toilette.

                 B: Ja, die Toilette ist nah. Gehen Sie geradeaus. Dann gehen Sie nach links. Die Toilette ist auf der linken Seite.

  1. das Fremdsprachenbüro
  2. Zimmer 106
  3. die Damentoilette
  4. die Herrentoilette
  5. das Forschungsbüro
  6. das Büro Ihrer (of your) Professorin
  7. die Haupttür
  8. die Hintertür


Summary of the Imperative Mood:




Let’s _____.

How to make the command:

verb stem;

keep stem-change of e to i(e) verbs.

infinitive + Sie

verb conjugated for “ihr”

infinitive + wir

Example with verbs warten and sprechen:



Warten Sie!

Sprechen Sie!



Warten wir!

Sprechen wir!

Watch out!

Don’t include “du” with the command.

Include “Sie” with the command.

Don’t include “ihr” with the command.

Include “wir” with the command.

Irregular verb sein


Seien Sie!

Seid! (not irregular)

Seien wir!

Ex. U: Der Imperativ. Fill in the table with the imperative for each verb.





  1. hören

2. sagen

3. schreiben

4. lernen

5. arbeiten

6. fliegen

7. tragen

8. fragen

9. gehen

10. kommen

11. spielen

12. machen

13. sein

14. wohnen

15. brauchen

16. werden

17. lesen

18. haben

19. nehmen

20. sehen

21. sprechen

22. finden

23. laufen

24. schlafen

25. geben

26. trinken

27. suchen

28. bleiben

29. essen

Ex. V: Du hast das Wort! Command the following people to react to the scenario in each picture. Be careful! You will have to decide if you will need a “du command,” “Sie command,” or “ihr command.” Feel free to use doch or mal to soften your command.

                       Beispiel: Herr Schmidt

                                         Man happily smiling at a stack of pancakes.

                                   →Essen Sie doch! OR Seien Sie nicht hungrig!

  1. Johanna                                               5. Herr Mahler

Woman holding empty coin purse.                                             A man running No Symbol

2. Helena                                                    6. Mark Forster

Woman yawning.                                                           Person singing into a microphone.Music notes

3. Mirko                                                     7. Rotkäppchen

Kid being confused while studying.                                          Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf talking.

4. diese Kinder                                         8. Ihr Opa

Lots of children                                     No Symbol A person shivering in the cold

Ex. W: Guter Rat. The people below have problems. Give them advice on how to solve their problems by using commands, aka Imperativ! (You’ll have to decide if the command should be formal or informal).

1. A baby         Baby: “Ich bin müde!”

2. Person with barrel around their body.       Herr Lehmann: “Ich habe keine Klamotten!”

3. Person being energetic       ein Freund: “Ich habe viel Energie!”

4. A woman with money in her coin purse.          Ihre Schwester: “Ich habe viel Geld!”

5. Man with his head down        Ihr Nachbar: “Ich vermisse meine Freunde!”

Video. Watch Easy German’s video for a review of all imperative forms and many examples used in real life.



Go to Germanzone.org’s website to do some extra practice with the imperative.




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