Indirect Commands

Spanish subjunctive
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Mandatos indirectos

In Spanish, indirect commands are used to state a wish or hope that something will happen or that someone will do something. Indirect commands are formed with que plus the subjunctive.

Third Person Commands

Indirect commands are commonly used when referring to the third person (singular or plural). They are usually translated by "let," "may," or "have."

Por ejemplo…

Que vaya bien.   May it go well; I hope it goes well.
Que pase. Let/Have him come in.
Que me llamen. Have them call me.

If the subject is stated, usually in order to emphasize or clarify the subject, it follows the verb.

Por ejemplo…

Que pase ella.   Let her come in.
Que me llame Ana. Have Ana call me.
Que no vea mamá.   I hope Mom doesn’t see.

Second Person Commands

This construction can also be in the second person, with an implication of encouragement or hope:

Por ejemplo…

Que lo hagas tú.  You do it.
Que pongas un sombrero. (I want you to) put on a hat.
Que tenga éxito Ud. I hope you succeed.

Indirect Commands vs Imperative

For the second person (tú/vosotros/vosotras), the imperative gives a direct order, while indirect commands offer encouragement, guidance, or the speaker’s own hope/wish. The indirect command is softer, less emphatic than the imperative.

There are no third person (él/ella/ellos/ellas) imperative conjugations, so indirect commands are the only option for them.

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Spanish indirect commands

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