I have encountered one problem in my Rosetta Stone program, which is expressed in the following image:

enter image description here

Two images on the left use indicative present, while the two on the right both use subjunctive present to order something.

Why do these two sets of examples use different mood, even though both want to express the same thing (I think)?

And if I want to order something, should I use indicative or subjunctive present? What makes one distinct from the the other?

  • Depends on the context. Para it is for someone you know,e.g a brother, a friend... etc. Pare shows more respect. – rpax Apr 23 '15 at 6:04

No, not indicative nor subjunctive.

If you give an order or a request, the verb is conjugated in the imperative. The problem is that in the second person singular, the imperative has two forms depending on formality of the context

Example in Latin American way:

¡Para, por favor!: you're talking to someone familiarly, without differences of rank or age. For example with your wife, your friends or colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere. [ debes parar]

¡Pare, por favor!: you're talking to someone with greater distance, usually with different rank, age or unknown people. For example with your boss, your father in law, a salesman or colleagues in structured situations. [Usted debe parar]

The limit of formality varies greatly from country to country.

A clarification: the image apparently mean that the expression "por favor" (please) is used only with the formal standard. This is wrong. It is a way of kindness, you can use either with "tú" and "usted".

  • 4
    Technically speaking (and this is being very pedantic), the commands for usted/ustedes/nosotros/nosotras (and all negative commands) are subjunctive , specifically, the subjuntivo exhortativo. Obviously, in practice, it's not remotely an important distinction, but it's there nonetheless. There are only three true imperative forms for each verb: tú, vos, and vosotros (except defectives that may lack one or more of them) – guifa Apr 22 '15 at 0:07
  • @guifa Really thanks for this clarification. Always welcome to learn the technical details of grammar. – Rodrigo Apr 22 '15 at 12:26

The previous answer is correct, but it should also be noted that the expressed or implied USTED on the right-hand expressions "¡MIRE!" or "¡PARE!" and other similar ones, is conjugated in the THIRD person, not the second. The second plural/formal "vosotros" is quite used in Spain but nearly nonexistent in Latin America.

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