Although ordenar exists, the usual way to say give orders in Spanish is mandar. Let’s look at some useful expressions with this common verb.

Sign, Mexico City

Sign, Mexico City

El que manda

El/la que manda refers to the person who calls the shots in a situation.

  • El que manda aquí soy yo. I’m the one in charge.
  • ¿Quién manda? Who’s in charge here?
  • Va a saber quién manda aquí. Now he’ll see who’s boss.
  • Lo que usted mande. Whatever you say (I’ll do).

In a relationship, el/la que manda could be transalated as the one who wears the pants. A mandilón is not the person who orders but rather the person who is ordered about. For example, a pussy-whipped husband who does whatever his wife says.

When someone asks you to run a favor for them, you could say, humorously or otherwise, No soy tu mandadero, I’m not your messenger boy, your gofer, your errand boy. No soy tu gato/a is also heard. This also works when someone expects you to pick up after them.

Me mandaste llamar

Mandar + infinitive = get someone to do something for you.

  • Me mandaste llamar. You asked to see me. You had me come here.
  • ¿Me mandaste llamar? You asked to see me? Said upon reporting to the person who asked to see you. Think of it as a shorthand for: You had someone get me.

Mandar a imprimir

Mandar a imprimir means send something to the network printer. Here you are sending the order to the printer to print. ¿Vas a mandar a imprimir? Are you going to print something? (because I’m going to turn off the printer if you’re not going to print)

Note that the subject of the first verb, mandar, does the ordering. It’s the implicit subject of the second verb who carries out the ordered task.


El mandado refers to the errands someone gives you to run, especially shopping at the market. An inexpensive cloth shoulder bag used for this purpose is called a bolsa de mandado.


While we’re on the subject of mandar, remember that in Mexico you say ¿Mande? to ask for a repetition or to respond when someone has called out your name.