Nosotros Commands in Spanish: ¡Aprendámoslos!
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The Spanish imperative mood is normally used for giving orders, suggestions, or requests to someone else. But what happens when we are with friends and we want to suggest that we, as a group, do something? In this case, we use nosotros commands in Spanish, which are similar to saying let’s in English before the action you want your group to perform.
Let’s commands are very useful to suggest actions done as a group. In today’s post we will learn how to conjugate the nosotros commands in Spanish, the two ways to express them, and how they’re used with pronouns.
We’ll round out the post with a useful list of nosotros commands that you’re likely to find useful when you want to get a group motivated.
Now let’s get started! – ¡Ahora comencemos!
The Spanish Imperative: Nosotros
Before diving into nosotros commands, let’s first brush up on the Spanish imperative.
The Spanish imperative is a verb mood used to give commands, orders, or suggestions. It’s used for both singular and plural subjects, and can be formed using different conjugations depending on the subject, verb, and tense.
In this post, we’ll just focus on nosotros commands and their conjugation; however, for a more comprehensive understanding of the Spanish imperative, we suggest reviewing our post on Spanish commands and informal Spanish commands.
Moving forward, there are two types of nosotros commands in Spanish: subjunctive form commands and vamos a + infinitive commands. In English, both forms can be translated as let’s + infinitive. In the following sections, we’ll examine both the affirmative and negative forms of these commands, along with some examples to illustrate their usage.
Nosotros commands: Subjunctive form
In Spanish, the nosotros imperative conjugation follows the present subjunctive conjugation for both affirmative and negative sentences.
In this post, we’re not going to go into detail about the Spanish subjunctive mood. For a comprehensive overview of that mood’s specific grammar rules and uses, we’ll just refer you to our detailed post.
Nonetheless, we’ll still explain how to conjugate nosotros commands in both affirmative or negative sentences so that you’ll know how to make nosotros commands even if you’re new to the subjunctive mood.
Keep in mind that we always omit the subject in commands, so we’ll never actually say or write nosotros in the sentences.
Affirmative nosotros commands
How do we conjugate the Spanish imperative for nosotros? It’s the same as the nosotros conjugation for the present subjunctive. We’ll explain how to form it here.
To form affirmative nosotros commands in Spanish, you’ll generally start with the simple present tense yo form of the verb and drop the -o ending. Then, you’ll add the appropriate nosotros ending based on the infinitive verb’s conjugation pattern: -ar, -er, or -ir. For a refresher on these basic verb forms, take a look at our post on Spanish infinitives.
For -ar verbs, the nosotros ending is -emos (“hablar” becomes “hablemos”).
For -er verbs and -ir verbs, the nosotros ending is -amos (“comer” becomes “comamos” and “vivir” becomes “vivamos”).
However, there are some irregular verbs that don’t follow these patterns, such as “ser” (seamos) and “ir” (vayamos). It’s important to memorize these irregular forms to use them correctly in conversation.
- Let’s buy chocolate syrup to make my birthday cake. – Compremos jarabe de chocolate para hacer mi pastel de cumpleaños.
- Let’s get some air outside. It’s very hot in here. – Tomemos aire afuera. Aquí dentro hace mucho calor.
- Let’s open the window to let in more natural light. – Abramos la ventana para que entre más luz natural.
- Let’s go to Alejandra’s house tonight. She said she’s having a party. – Vayamos a casa de Alejandra esta noche. Dijo que dará una fiesta.
Negative nosotros commands
Negative nosotros commands follow the exact same structure as affirmative ones, except that no must always be placed before the verb. The conjugation is the same. Let’s take a look:
- Let’s not talk so loud in the library; there are people studying. – No hablemos tan fuerte en la biblioteca; hay personas estudiando.
- Let’s not eat dessert before lunch. – No comamos el postre antes de almorzar.
- Let’s not argue over this nonsense. We are good friends. – No discutamos por esa tontería. Nosotras somos buenas amigas.
Nosotros commands: Vamos a + infinitive
Vamos a + infinitive commands are a type of nosotros command in Spanish used to suggest an action or activity in an informal, friendly way. These vamos a commands are formed by using the first-person plural form of the verb ir (to go) followed by the preposition a and the infinitive form of the verb, which translates to let’s + action in English.
- Let’s get [ourselves] ready before it gets late. – Vamos a arreglarnos antes de que se haga tarde.
- Let’s eat at the new restaurant. – Vamos a comer en el restaurante nuevo.
- Let’s write the lesson on the blackboard. – Vamos a escribir la lección en la pizarra.
It’s important to note that vamos a + infinitive commands are only used for affirmative nosotros commands. For negative nosotros commands, we need to use the subjunctive form instead, as we saw above.
Nosotros commands: Object pronoun placement
When using nosotros commands in Spanish, it’s common to include both direct and indirect object pronouns, as well as the reflexive pronoun nos, meaning ourselves.
The fundamental rules for incorporating these pronouns are the same as with any other verb mood, making it relatively straightforward. The rule which causes the most confusion is on when to change the object pronoun to “se,” so we’ll start with a specific explanation on this phenomenon since it appears in all three of the following sections. Then we’ll go through each of our three forms of nosotros commands in the subsequent sections to see how they each work with object pronouns.
There are also specific rules on adding accent marks to the original verb forms, so pay attention to the explanations and examples in each section below. For a general lesson on accent marks in Spanish, including a section on adding them to the command form when used in conjunction with object pronouns, we have a detailed post on Spanish accent marks.
Check out our other specific posts if you need a more extensive explanation of direct and indirect object pronouns in Spanish or on the reflexive pronouns in Spanish. As a refresher, here’s a quick reference table of all the personal pronouns in Spanish, with links to full lessons on each one:
|Subject pronouns, Spanish||Direct object pronouns, Spanish||Indirect object pronouns, Spanish||Reflexive pronouns, Spanish|
|él, ella, usted||lo, la||le (*se)||se|
|ustedes||los, las||les (*se)||se|
|ellos, ellas||los, las||les (*se)||se|
* The indirect object pronoun se is used in the contexts we cover in the next section.
When to use “se” as the object pronoun
We’ll cover this general rule here first, since it comes up in each of the next sections.
When our verb takes both an indirect object pronoun and a direct object pronoun, we write one after the other in that order. In English, the direct object is often “it” or “them,” while the indrect object is often “to him,” “to her,” “to you,” or “to them.”
In Spanish, this would give us the following awkward-sounding indirect object – direct object combinations: lo le, la le, lo les, la les, los le, las le, los les, or las les. None of these combinations can exist!
Instead, to avoid this double-L combination, we replace the indirect object pronouns le and les with se whenever it appears before a direct object pronoun.
Keep in mind that, although the word is identical to the reflexive pronoun, the se in this case is still acting as an indirect object pronoun. We also change these third-person indirect object pronouns to se when the adjacent direct object pronoun is “me,” “te,” or “nos,” though in practice this is fairly uncommon. This rule applies whether the object pronoun pairs are attached or written out as separate words.
Now let’s get back to our nosotros commands with object pronouns.
Affirmative nosotros commands + object pronouns
The formula for this combination is fairly simple. In short, we add the object pronoun(s) directly to the end of the conjugated verb, and then add an accent mark to maintain the spoken intonation. In practice, this can work a few ways. Let’s see each of these in detail.
First, if we are conjugating a reflexive verb, the object of our action is ourselves. We must therefore add the reflexive pronoun nos, meaning ourselves. To do this, we drop the final -s from the conjugated verb, we join the reflexive pronoun to the verb, and put an accent mark on the second-to-last syllable of the original command to preserve the stress pattern. For example, a reflexive verb like ducharse (to shower) becomes duchémonos, and not duchémosnos.
- Let’s save water and shower [ourselves] together. – Ahorremos agua y duchémonos juntos.
When adding direct and indirect object pronouns, there are some important differences between adding just one or both pronouns to our action. In addition to the use of the indirect object pronoun se that we discussed above, the other important detail is whether or not we remove the final -s of the conjugated verb before adding the object pronouns.
When our conjugated verb takes only one object pronoun, whether direct or indirect, the -s at the end of the conjugated verb stays. For example, this sentence “comamos la sopa ahora” (let’s eat the soup now) becomes “comámosla ahora” (let’s eat it now). Here, we add the direct object pronoun “la” to the conjugated verb “comamos,” and put an accent mark on the second-to-last syllable of the originally-conjugated verb, forming “comámosla”
If we replace both objects with pronouns, we first remove the final -s from the conjugated verb, we add the two object pronouns directy to the end of the word, and we add an accent mark to the second-to-last syllable of the conjugated verb. Remember that our indirect object pronoun here is often se. For example, “enviemos la caja a mis papás” (let’s send the box to my parents) becomes “enviémosela”, with the indirect object pronoun “se” replacing “mis papás” (to my parents) and the pronoun “la” replacing the direct object “la caja” (the box).
Let’s see a few more examples of affirmative nosotros commands with object pronouns:
- Let’s buy lots of strawberries for the picnic. / Yes, let’s buy them. – Compremos muchas fresas para el picnic. / Sí, comprémoslas.
- Let’s raise the money to buy new picnic tables. / Yes, let’s raise it. – Reunamos el dinero para comprar mesas de pícnic nuevas. / Sí, reunámoslo.
- Let’s take the notebook to Pedro. / Yes, let’s take it to him. – Llevémosle el cuaderno a Pedro. / Sí, llevémoselo.
- Let’s make mom her favorite pie. / Yes, let’s make it for her. – Hagámosle a mamá su tarta favorita. / Sí, hagámosela.
- Before going to bed, let’s brush our teeth. – Antes de dormir, cepillémonos los dientes.
Did you notice how we dropped the final -s of the conjugated verbs in the final three example sentences? In the third and fourth sentences we replaced our indirect objects (“the notebook” and “her favorite pie”) with the pronoun se, whereas in the fifth sentence we use the reflexive pronoun nos.
Negative nosotros commands + object pronouns
For negative subjunctive form nosotros commands, the word order is different. In short, we place the reflexive, direct object, or indirect object pronoun after the negation and before the conjugated verb. With this negative form, we don’t attach any of the pronouns to the verb, nor do we need to add an accent.
For example, if we start with the imperative sentence “No le compremos esa ropa a Luis” (Let’s not buy those clothes from Luis), after substituting the direct and indirect objects with pronouns and placing them between “no” and the conjugated verb “compremos,” we get “no se la compremos.”
Note that the rule we saw above about changing the indirect object pronoun to se still applies here in cases where it’s followed by a direct object pronoun, even though they’re written as separate words.
- The guitar is broken, let’s not touch it. – La guitarra está rota, no la toquemos.
- Those tomatoes are spoiled, let’s not buy them. – Esos tomates están dañados, no los compremos.
- Armando doesn’t want the ball, let’s not give it to him. – Armando no quiere la pelota, no se la demos.
- Mom is having a surprise party for Dad, let’s not tell [it to] him. – Mamá le hará una fiesta sorpresa a papá, no se lo digamos.
In the last two example sentences both indirect objects (“to him”) became se, since in both cases they’re followed by direct object pronouns.
Vamos a commands + object pronouns
To add pronouns to nosotros commands in the vamos a + infinitive structure in Spanish, we simply need to attach the pronoun(s) directly to the end of the infinitive verb.
This process is similar to the affirmative commands we saw above that are conjugated in the subjunctive form, although we only add an accent mark in cases where we have two object pronouns.
For instance, if we have the sentence “Vamos a lavar la ropa” (Let’s wash the clothes), you can replace the direct object “la ropa” (the clothing) with the corresponding pronoun “la,” resulting in “vamos a lavarla.”
When we replace both objects with direct and indirect object pronouns, the principle is the same. The indirect object pronoun must always go before the direct object pronoun, and we add an accent mark to maintain the correct stress pattern of the word. Here, we add the accent mark to the last syllable of the infinitive, which becomes the third-to-last syllable of the compound word with its two object pronouns attached. The same rule applies regarding the indirect object pronoun becoming se.
For example, with the sentence “vamos a darle el regalo a ella” (let’s give her the gift), if we replace the direct object “el regalo” (the gift) with the corresponding pronoun “lo,” and we replace the indirect object “a ella” (to her) with “se,” we would have “vamos a dárselo” (let’s give her it).
- I like those shoes, let’s buy them. – Me gustan esos zapatos, vamos a comprarlos.
- That kitten is very cute, mom. Let’s adopt her. – Esa gatita es muy linda, mamá. Vamos a adoptarla.
- My brother needs new socks, let’s buy them for him. – Mi hermano necesita calcetines nuevos, vamos a comprárselos.
- That’s Pablo’s wallet, let’s take it to him. – Esa es la billetera de Pablo, vamos a llevársela.
- Let’s go sit in the park chairs. – Vamos a sentarnos en las sillas del parque.
Again, remember that vamos a + infinitive commands are used for affirmative nosotros commands only. For negative nosotros commands, we always use the subjunctive form that we looked at in the previous section.
Bonus: Useful nosotros commands
We’ve covered all the grammar now, so why not take a look at some common Spanish nosotros commands? Here’s a list of useful ones for you to include in your conversations! We include both forms of affirmative commands that we’ve covered here.
|English||Imperative command||Vamos + infinitive command|
|Let’s eat||Comamos||Vamos a comer|
|Let’s do it||Hagámoslo||Vamos a hacerlo|
|Let’s get ready||Preparémonos||Vamos a prepararnos|
|Let’s get started||Empecemos||Vamos a empezar|
|Let’s have fun||Divirtámonos||Vamos a divertirnos|
|Let’s enjoy||Disfrutemos||Vamos a disfrutar|
|Let’s rest||Descansemos||Vamos a descansar|
|Let’s take a break||Tomémonos un descanso||Vamos a tomar un descanso|
|Let’s celebrate||Celebremos||Vamos a celebrar|
|Let’s be patient||Seamos pacientes||Vamos a ser pacientes|
|Let’s think about it||Pensémoslo||Vamos a pensarlo|
|Let’s focus||Concentrémonos||Vamos a concentrarnos|
|Let’s wait||Esperemos||Vamos a esperar|
|Let’s work||Trabajemos||Vamos a trabajar|
Now that you’ve seen some useful nosotros commands, perhaps you’re interested in other specific Spanish commands too? If you’re a parent or work with children, take a look at our list of tú commands for teachers and babysitters. On the other hand, if you are a dog lover, you will surely love to know our top dog commands in Spanish.
It looks like we’ve reached the end, good job! Today we learned a lot about Spanish nosotros commands, so let’s do a quick recap to make sure everything’s clear.
First of all, we learned that nosotros commands in Spanish are a valuable tool for suggesting actions to be performed as a group. We saw that there are two types of Spanish nosotros commands: the imperative mood and vamos a + infinitive commands.
We learned that the Spanish imperative mood, which is used for giving orders, suggestions, or requests, uses the same nosotros conjugation as the present subjunctive. This subjunctive conjugation is used for both affirmative and negative commands.
Otherwise, we saw the straightforward vamos a + infinitive structure, used only for affirmative nosotros commands.
We spent a while looking specifically at grammar rules when including object pronouns with our nosotros commands. In particular, we saw how the indirect object pronoun is often changed to “se” whenever it’s used in combination with a direct object pronoun. In addition, we saw the rules for adding accent marks to the original verb form in each of the cases where object pronouns are also used.
Finally, we provided a nice list of practical nosotros commands in Spanish that you can use in various contexts to improve your conversations and have more natural interactions with Spanish speakers.
We hope this lesson has been useful and that you now have the confidence to propose activities with your group of Spanish-speaking friends. See you in the next post. ¡Sigamos aprendiendo! – Let’s keep learning!