Unit 13: Past subjunctive, informal commands, translation considerations (part 3)

13.3 Indirect Commands

Indirect commands in Spanish are formed by que plus the present subjunctive. “Let,” “have,” “may” or “I hope” are the words normally used to translate such commands into English.

Que llegues seguro. May you arrive safely. (I hope you arrive…)
Que me digan la verdad ahora. Have (Let) them tell me the truth now.
Que lo escriba la profesora. Let (Have) the teacher write it.
¡Que lo hagan ellos! Let (Have) them do it!
¡Que se lo diga yo! Let me tell it to them!

Frequently you find the order of subject and the verb, if the former is expressed, inverted after the que (as in the last three examples.)

The above construction does not occur in the first person plural. (See section 14.2.)

Before the que there is always something understood such as “I hope” or “I want.” Although it may seem to appear that way, the subjunctives in indirect commands are technically not in main clauses.

Occasional indirect commands occur without the que in fixed phrases.

¡Viva Colombia! Long live Colombia!
Alabado sea Dios. (May) God be praised.



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Spanish for Reading and Translation by Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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