I speak English and Danish fluently, Russian less so.

I haven't seen any of those languages use pronouns in the imperative, so should I use them in Esperanto? If I do (or don't) use them, will anyone care


Vi legu

Which is correct?

  • 2
    There's an Esperanto Meetup group in the West Midlands (UK), called Ni babilu ("Let us chat"). So there's an example of using a pronoun with the imperative. In this case it makes it more specific than just babilu, "chat!", which could be directed towards a single person rather than a group. Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 9:13

3 Answers 3


The function of the form -u in Esperanto is broader than the imperative known from Western European languages, hence it sometimes is called "volitive".

It marks something not as real (indicative -a/i/os) or imagined (conditional -us), but as desired by the speaker.

By this, it can be combined with all persons (mi legu tion finfine "I should/shall/must finally read that", (vi) venu al mi "come to me", li finu sian taskon "he should/must finish his task", ni iru "let's go", ili ĉesu "let them stop") and appears also in subordinate clauses which express a desire or a goal (ŝi volas, ke vi faru tion "She wants you to make that", mi ekzercas min ĉiutage, por ke mi povu fleti "I exercise every day in order to be able to play on the flute").

Generally the personal pronoun can not be ommitted in Esperanto, just like in English. There is, however, an exceptional rule for the volitive used as second-person imperative. Whenever you express an order or a wish to the hearer directly, the pronoun vi (+ci) can be ommitted (vi venu = venu "come!"). The form without vi is the common one. According to my knowledge there is no difference in meaning and style between the forms with and without the pronoun.

(I ask native speakers of English to edit my post)


The -u ending is used whenever there is any kind of pressure to do something. It can be used in a few ways.

As a command

  • Iru! (Go)

As a firm suggestion

  • Vi iru al la kinejo. (You should go to the cinema. Go on and go to the cinema.)

As part of a bigger sentence

  • Mi volas ke vi iru al la kinejo. (I want you to go to the cinema.)

  • Mi pensas ke vi iru al la kinejo. (I think you should go to the cinema.)

  • Li diris al vi, ke vi iru al la kinejo. (He told you to go to the cinema.)


Both are correct; the imperative being for making something reality.

legu = read!
vi legu = you read!, you have to read, you should read

Legu la artikolon, por ke vi komprenu la aferon.
Vi pli bone legu la artikolon, por viaj poentoj en la lernejo.

With a subject it is not called imperative in other languages.

So the shortness makes it more of a command. One should apply the u-form, when something is not yet realized, but wanted to be realized, a kind of al-reala modo.

A pure imperative is directed at the opposing party: you singular or plural. In rare cases:

Ekstaru ni! = Let us rise

could be called imperative, directing a command also at the subject.

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