Is there any difference in meaning between "commander" and "ordonner" when they mean "to give an order to somebody"? Are both usual?


  • Le professeur a commandé à l'élève de se taire.
  • Le professeur a ordonné à l'élève de se taire.

2 Answers 2


There is no difference in meaning but a significant one in usage.

  1. Ordonner is strong and what would be used for a demand1. An alternative would be:

    Le professeur a donné l'ordre de se taire à l'élève.

  2. Commander à quelqu'un de faire quelque chose is an outdated, literary way to express the same but unlikely to be used in modern French.

1 Beware that demander just means "to ask", not "to demand".


There is no difference; "commander (à qqn) de + inf." and "Ordonner de + inf. (à qqn.)" are synonyms.

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