In past lessons, we have spoken about informal commands and formal commands in Spanish when addressed to one or more people. But, what if we want to give a command to a group of people of which we are a part? That's where the imperative form for nosotros/as ("we") comes in.
While the meaning of positive and negative commands with tú, usted, ustedes, and vosotros can feel more, well... "commanding" ("Do this!" or "Don't do that!"), the translation for commands with nosotros/as sounds more like a suggestion: "Let's..." do such and such a thing. That said, "let's take a look at" (veamos) a few examples:
Miremos quién era Pablo Escobar.
Let's look at who Pablo Escobar was.Play Caption
Comamos una pasta.
Let's eat some pasta.
Caption 74, Sofy y Caro Comida en un restaurantePlay Caption
y abramos nuestro corazón a otras culturas,
and let's open our hearts to other cultures,
Caption 79, Silvina Una entrevista con la artistaPlay Caption
Now that we know the meaning of nosotros commands, let's learn how to conjugate them. In order to do so, we should revisit (or learn) how to conjugate verbs in the present subjunctive because the nosotros/as imperative form is the same as the nosotros/as present subjunctive.
To summarize briefly, to conjugate the present subjunctive, we take a verb's stem (most typically the yo form of the verb minus the -o), and add the appropriate endings (-e, -es, -e, -emos, -éis, and -en for -ar verbs and -a, -as, -a, -amos, -áis, and -an for -er and -ir verbs). Let's take a look:
|Personal Pronoun:||-ar Verbs||-er Verbs||-ir Verbs|
Although these are simple examples with regular verbs, other verbs are a bit more complex. For example, stem-changing verbs like perder (to lose), which changes to pierdo in the present, change stems in the subjunctive in all forms except nosotros/as and vosotros/as, making the conjugation in the nosotros form perdamos (rather than pierdamos). However, the important thing to remember is that the present subjunctive "we" form is the exact same as the nosotros/as command form! So, if you know one, you know the other.
So, how do we tell someone "let's not" (do something)? As Carlos explains to us in the following clip, constructing a negative command with nosostros in Spanish is as easy as adding "no" in front of the affirmative form:
imperativo afirmativo: "Hablemos de este tema", imperativo negativo: "No hablemos de esto con tu mamá".
affirmative imperative: "Hablemos de este tema" [Let's talk about this subject], negative imperative: "No hablemos de esto con tu mamá" [Let's not talk about this with your mom].
Captions 30-32, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 4: Nosotros + reflexivosPlay Caption
Let's see one more example:
Así que no perdamos más tiempo
So let's not waste any more time
Caption 11, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 2Play Caption
Of course, verbs that have an irregular form in the present subjunctive also have an irregular form in the nosotros/as imperative form, for example, sepamos for saber, seamos for ser, estemos for estar, etc. So, when we talk about irregular verbs in the nosotros command form, we are talking about verbs whose form deviates from the present subjunctive form. This is only the case for the verb ir (to go) because, to say "Let's go" in Spanish, the present indicative conjugation of nosotros is used rather than the present subjunctive conjugation:
Let's go, Merycita.
Caption 39, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 3Play Caption
On the other hand, when we want to say "Let's not go," we do use the subjunctive form, vayamos:
No vayamos al evento.
Let's not go to the event.
An alternative way to say "Let's" in Spanish is with the following formula:
Let's take a look at some examples:
¡Vamos a bailar!
Let's dance!Play Caption
Bueno, vamos a ver.
Well, let's see.Play Caption
¡Vamos a empezar!
Caption 10, Ana Carolina GérmenesPlay Caption
Note that while this very same construction can also mean "we are going to" (do something), you will often be able to tell one's intended meaning from context. For example, in the caption above, ¡Vamos a bailar! has been translated as "Let's dance!" However, if a dance teacher said, Hoy vamos a bailar la cumbia as an explanation of the class's daily agenda, the more likely translation would be "Today, we're going to dance cumbia." That said, there are cases in which the intention of such a statement may be difficult to discern.