29.1 Imperatives (Читай Type)

Shenborn palace in the autumn

29.1 Imperatives (Читай Type)

In this module, you will begin to learn how to give commands in Ukrainian. You will become familiar with one of the two most common types of imperatives, called here the чита́й type.

Завдання 1

Read the conversation below and mark all the forms of the verb “to read.” Then answer the questions that follow.


Ukrainian has three main imperative forms: the ти form, the ви/Ви form, and the ми form.

The ти form gives a command (or a suggestion, a warning, etc.) to a single individual with whom one is on informal terms: чита́й! The ви/Ви form is addressed to several people or an individual with whom one is on formal terms (i.e., a professor): чита́йте! The ми form includes the speaker in the exhortation addressed to several people and is equivalent to the English “let’s…”: чита́ймо!

To form the imperatives, one needs to determine the stem of the verb in the present tense (for imperfective verbs):

чита́ти → я чита́ю = чита́й+у → чита́й
працюва́ти → я працю́ю = працю́й+у → працю́й

For first-conjugation verbs of the чита́ти and працюва́ти types, the stem of the verb always ends in .

The ти form of the imperative is the same as this verb stem: чита́й!
The ви/Ви form adds -те to this stem: чита́йте!
The ми form adds -мо to this stem: чита́ймо!

We call this first type of imperatives the чита́й type.

Note how similar the ви and ми forms of this imperative type are to the corresponding present-tense forms:

Ми чита́ємо → чита́ймо!
Ви чита́єте → чита́йте!

Завдання 2

Look at the advertisements below and provide the infinitive form of the imperatives that you see.  Then answer the questions that follow.

Завдання 3

You will hear six commands. Select the sentence that would be most likely to precede eac command.

Завдання 4

Complete the conversation below with the most appropriate imperative forms from the bank.


When forming imperatives out of –ся verbs of the first conjugation, with conjugation patterns similar to the чита́ти and працюва́ти types, the same steps need to be followed:

намага́тися → я намага́юся = намага́й+у(+ся) → намага́й(+ся)

The three imperative forms take the same endings, which are added to the verb stem before the -ся:

ти form: намага́йся!
ви/Ви form: намага́йтеся!
ми form: намага́ймося!

Note that in the ви form, the verb sometimes appears with the final soft sign () instead of a :


Завдання 5

For each imperative that you hear, select the person(s) to whom it is most likely to be directed.

Завдання 6

Complete the exchanges below with the most appropriate imperative forms from the bank.

Завдання 7

Read the two captions below paying attention to the bolded verbs. Then answer the questions that follow.

closeup of selecting a book from shelf in library
– Алло́! Ні́но, приві́т! Де той підру́чник, яки́й ти нам рекомендува́ла? Ми з Петро́м шука́ємо його́ в бібліоте́ці.
Шука́йте, шука́йте! Він там то́чно є.
– Але́ ми вже тут його́ шука́ємо 20 хвили́н!
– А ви були́ на тре́тьому по́версі бібліоте́ки?
– Ні…
Пошука́йте ще там. Там є бага́то підру́чників з істо́рії.

– Ну що, бу́демо сього́дні роби́ти репети́цію (rehearsal)?
– Бу́демо, зві́сно! Ти грай, а ми з Ната́лкою бу́демо співа́ти.
– Яку́ пі́сню ви хо́чете?
Загра́й «Черво́ну ру́ту».

Just as with other verb forms, the use of imperatives differs depending on their aspect. Imperfective imperatives are usually commands or suggestions of a general nature. Perfective imperatives, by contrast, denote much more specific actions, often with an emphasis on completion:

Чита́йте, ді́ти! Вам тре́ба бага́то чита́ти.
(Read, children! You need to be reading a lot.)

Ді́ти, прочита́йте цю ка́зку! Вона́ ду́же ціка́ва.
(Children, read this fairy tale! It’s very interesting.)

Many perfective imperatives of the чита́й type are prefixed, and the formation of those is the same as the formation of their imperfective counterparts. The only difference is that the stems of the perfective verbs come from their future-tense forms:

прочита́ти → я прочита́ю = прочита́й+у → прочита́й

Завдання 8

Complete the sentences below with the appropriate imperative forms.

Мо́вний пазл

Look through the activities you have just completed and choose the correct statements below to summarize what you have learned.

А тепер тест!

Fill in the blanks in the dialogue below with the most appropriate verbs from the bank. Put each verb in the imperative form required by the context. Use each verb in the bank only once.

Images courtesy of Oleksandr Zheskyi, Oleksandra Wallo (4), dero2084.gmail.com, Artur Verkhovetskiy.