Negative imperative

heterochronismenos

New Member
Greek
Hi
Today I heard a Romanian lady saying to her kid "nu fă așa". Wasn't she supposed to say "nu face așa"? Is that a common colloquialism extended to other verbs?
Thanks.
 
  • danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    Hi
    Today I heard a Romanian lady saying to her kid "nu fă așa". Wasn't she supposed to say "nu face așa"? Is that a common colloquialism extended to other verbs?
    Thanks.
    You are right, it is a mistake (common colloquialism, as you say)

    Romanian has different ways of forming the afirmative imperative and the negative one.
    Details here: Imperativul. Sau despre fii! / nu fi!, zi! / nu zice!, fă! / nu face!. Again

    Short:
    - most verbs (but not all of them) have for the afirmative imperative of the 2nd person singular
    the same form as for the indicative 3rd person singular
    - for the negative imperative, 2nd person singular the rule is:
    "nu (negation) + infinitive"

    For the case in question, the infinitive verb is "face" (facere which lost the termination -re over the centuries),
    thus the correct form is:
    Nu face așa!

    Note:
    I am not sure, but seems to me that Italian has the same rule for the negative imperative.
    Example:
    Non toccare!
     

    heterochronismenos

    New Member
    Greek
    I’d like to know how frequent is this mistake among native speakers of Romanian? Does it occur in other verbs too and to what extent?
    Thank you again for your time!
     

    danielstan

    Senior Member
    Romanian - Romania
    I don't think this is a frequent mistake among native speakers. In fact I remember hearing such wrong form, but not so frequent to be a pattern of the low educated people or some other social group.
    In other verbs, also I don't recall to be hearing negative imperative taking the form of the affirmative one.
    Maybe I heard "Nu zi!" instead of the correct form "Nu zice!"...
    I guess that intuitively Romanians feel that negative is different in form than affirmative imperative (not a rule, but valid in 90% cases), so while speaking and searching the right word they usually say the correct form.

    Also the fact that the negative imperative form is preceded by the negation "nu" offers the speaker a short delay to search in his mind the correct form, avoiding the error.
    I mean: if the pattern of the negative imperative would be "fă nu așa!" or "zice nu asta!" I guess the errors in speech would be more frequent.
     
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