Today, let’s discuss how to give indirect commands in Spanish. A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about a common mistake that English speakers make with Spanish. After hearing someone make the EXACT same mistake again yesterday, I decided to write you about it again so that you can learn to sound more like a native Spanish speaker. This is what happened . . .

While my American friend was at my house we called Domino’s Pizza for a delivery service or “domicilio” as they say here in Medellin, Colombia.

How To Give Indirect Commands In Spanish

 

When the delivery guy arrived my doorman or “portero” called on the intercom. I was busy at the time so I told my friend to answer. And I heard my friend say to the “portero.”

Puede entrar.
He can enter.

How To Give Indirect Commands In Spanish

There’s really nothing wrong with that sentence. But native Spanish speakers have a way of giving indirect commands through a third party. And the formula is:

Que + present subjunctive

For example, a native Spanish speaker would have probably said:

Que pase
Have him enter/Let him enter

Que entre
Have him enter/Let him enter

Or in Colombia, it is common to say:

Que siga
Have him continue/Let him continue

And with a negative command:

Que no pase
Don’t let him enter

Que no entre
Don’t let him enter.

Que no siga
Don’t let him continue.

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And if two or more delivery guys had arrived, the indirect command would have been:

Que pasen
Have them enter/Let them enter

Que entren
Have them enter/Let them enter

Que sigan
Have them continue/Let them continue

And with a negative command:

Que no pasen
Don’t let them enter

Que no entren
Don’t let them enter.

Que no sigan
Don’t let them continue.

Here are some more examples:

Que hable.
Let him speak.

Que me llame.
Have her call me.

Que caminen.
Let them walk/Have them walk.

Here are some more negative examples:

Que no hable.
Don’t let him speak.

Que no me llame.
Don’t have her call me.

Que no caminen.
Don’t let them walk.

So if you want to learn how to sound more like a native Spanish speaker, it is important that you learn how to give indirect commands through a third party using the “que + present subjunctive” formula.