I have heard many times the use of the infinitive instead of the imperative in Spanish with the verb "ir". For example:

  • Si me queréis, *irse (Instead of: Si me queréis, váyanse) [Famous quote of artist Lola Flores]
  • *Ir yendo (Instead of: Id yendo)
  • *Iros ya (Instead of: Idos ya)

In Spain I have heard this error so often that for me "iros" even sounds much better than "idos" though I know that it's an error.

Does this problem happen in any other regions of the world? Does it also happen with other verbs?

  • 5
    In latin america.. "idos" and "iros" they both sound awful. We simply say "vayan" (plural) "vaya" (singular) – pleasedontbelong Nov 18 '11 at 14:05
  • That first one's corrected form should be Si me queréis, idos, since querer is conjugated for vosotros (or old vos). – guifa Jun 23 '14 at 6:17
up vote -2 down vote accepted

Only Spain. Actually you're talking about "Castellano" which is spoken in Spain. Latin America Spanish doesn't use second person plural familiar form of the verbs.

In both Spain and Latin America, the informal, second person singular verb form is tú (you). For example:

“¿Quieres (tú) venir a la fiesta conmigo? Would you like to come to the party with me?”

However, when you’re talking to a group of people, that’s when things get more complicated. In Spain, you would use the second person plural verb form, vosotros, so you’d say:

“¿Queréis (vosotros) ir a la fiesta conmigo?”

But in Latin America, the vosotros verb form is simply not used. There they use the third person plural verb form with ustedes instead, which would be:

“¿Quieren (ustedes) ir a la fiesta conmigo?”

  • 11
    It's not really so helpful to use the words "Castellano" or "Castillian" here since that's the usual Spanish word for "Spanish" in some Latin American countries, notably Argentina. Also it's a bit ambiguous whether it's for setting Castile apart from the rest of Spain or Spain apart from the rest of the Spanish speaking world. I believe the RAE's official position is that both español and castellano are equivalent. – hippietrail Nov 18 '11 at 12:31
  • 7
    It looks like a good answer but then I'm not sure you're addressing the OP's points about the imperative and infinitive but instead you're talking about the second person present indicatives. I think the question might not be clear enough maybe?? – hippietrail Nov 18 '11 at 12:37
  • @hippietrail: Regarding your first comment, you should not forget that RAE is mostly composed of people from a predominantly Castillian culture, which historically has been dominant on other cultures in what today is Spain. In fact, there are many people who don't agree with RAE on this issues. You cannot ignore this when assessing RAE's position on language. – CesarGon Feb 5 '12 at 15:47
  • @CesarGon: I wholeheartedly agree. I'm not a big fan of the historical RAE but it seems to comprise people with much more open minds in recent years now. Nevertheless Spanish does have an academy so we have to recognize that though I do invite people to contest their official positions. On the subject of castellano we have a question too: Is there a difference between “español” and “castellano”? – hippietrail Feb 5 '12 at 16:34
  • @hippietrail: Glad that you agree. I just left a comment to your answer to the question that you mention which, unfortunately, is not very positive, I am afraid. I hope that, at least, it sheds some light. – CesarGon Feb 6 '12 at 8:45

The use of the infinitive when an imperative is required is a common error that unfortunately nowadays is spreading all around, and it happens with all verbs in imperative form in colloquial speech in Spain and other countries where the form vosotros is used in enclitic form (-os) with an imperative.

From RAE FAQ

It is not considered proper, in careful speech, the use of the infinitive instead of the imperative to address an order to a plural second person as is often done in colloquial speech:

No se considera correcto, en el habla esmerada, el uso del infinitivo en lugar del imperativo para dirigir una orden a una segunda persona del plural, como se hace a menudo en el habla coloquial:

  • ¡×Venir aquí ahora mismo, granujas! (Venid)
  • ×Poneros el pijama y ×dormiros cuanto antes. (Poneos/dormíos)

It is only valid to use the infinitive with imperative value addressing a singular or plural second person when it is preceded by the preposition a, proper use of the colloquial spoken language.

Solo es válido el empleo del infinitivo con valor de imperativo dirigido a una segunda persona del singular o del plural cuando aparece precedido de la preposición a, uso propio de la lengua oral coloquial.

  • ¡Tú, a callar!
  • Niños, a dormir

The same for ir. Use of iros, irse,... when used as imperative, is a mistake.

Also, every verb in imperative loses the last -d when adding the enclitic -os.

  • poned + vosotros = poned + os = poneos

with the exception of ir, which does not lose the final -d (idos). Even then, many people use the arcaic and incorrect form ×íos (the correct imperative without the final -d by comparison with other imperatives when using the enclitic -os).

There is a complete page dedicated to the verb ir in RAE archives. This is an excerpt:

Las formas de imperativo propias de este verbo son ve (tú) e id (vosotros) y, para los usos pronominales, vete (tú) e idos (vosotros)

Debe evitarse, para el imperativo singular, el uso de la forma vulgar ×ves y, para el imperativo plural, el uso del infinitivo ×iros y el de la forma arcaica ×íos.

The proper imperative forms of this verb are ve (tú) and id (vosotros) and, for the pronominal uses, vete (tú) and idos (vosotros)

It should be avoided, for the singular imperative, to use the vulgar form ×ves and, for the plural imperative, to use the infinitive ×iros and the *archaic form* ×íos.

TL;DR

The "problem" is so extended that RAE finally decided to consider that is actually the way people speak, making it a valid version for the imperative.

Long answer

To update this question, even if at the moment of writing these lines the form iros might be not officially accepted yet, the RAE has informally announced that it will do so.

It is true that RAE's rules stated

Las formas de imperativo propias de este verbo son ve (tú) e id (vosotros) y, para los usos pronominales, vete (tú) e idos (vosotros): «¡Callaos los dos, callaos, y cuanto antes idos a la viña a hacer lo vuestro!» (Melcón Catalina [Esp. 1995]). Debe evitarse, para el imperativo singular, el uso de la forma vulgar ves y, para el imperativo plural, el uso del infinitivo iros y el de la forma arcaica íos

Recently, Arturo Pérez-Reverte gave some heads up about this change due to an enquiry through his Twitter account

enter image description here

After some discussion RAE just accepted iros, since nobody used idos nor íos. [Iros] Can now be used without feeling ashamed. It will be official this Fall [2017]

Due to the mild controvesry generated, Pérez-Reverte clarified later that both forms iros and idos are now considered correct.

enter image description here

Idos is the correct form but iros will be registered as o habitual use.

The RAE acts as notary for the usage of the language, not as police.

  • Yo me pregunto donde se usan íos? Apple latin america? – user5389726598465 Oct 27 '17 at 1:42
  • @user135711 nadie lo usa, es forma antigua – guifa Oct 27 '17 at 1:47
  • @guifa, de hecho ahora recuerdo la regla que he olvidado. Hay una regla para eliminar la "d" antes de "os" – user5389726598465 Oct 27 '17 at 1:49

Does this problem happen in any other regions of the world?

These conjugations will only appear in dialects which use vosotros, so that limits us to the Spanish of peninsular Spain (and possibly also Equatoguinean and Filipino Spanish).

Does it also happen with other verbs?

I suspect very very rarely. Given that the terminal -d is lost when attaching the enclitic pronoun os to the positive vosotros imperative, I can only imagine the retention of a -d and its subsequent lenition to -r- occurring in other monosyllabic -ir verbs, i.e. huir, luir, muir, gruir, fruir and possibly oír, reír, freír.

E.g.

Amantes engañadores,
huiros de mi presencia,
no perturbeis mi reposo
...
y con todo vuestro amor
huiros de mi presencia.

¡Reíros todos vosotros que le habéis nombrado para ese puesto!
¡Reíros de él, los que tenéis de su virtud...


Note also that the common form iros is, as of July 2017, accepted by the RAE:

DPD 2005
idos, imperativo 05/02/2009
marchaos, idos 23/07/2010
Nota sobre la aceptación de iros como forma de imperativo de 2.a pers. plural 18/7/2017
«Iros» será correcto para la RAE, pero con matices 18/7/2017
Sobre «idos» e «iros» 25/07/2017
idos, mejor que iros 17/02/2018

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