How to Form Nosotros Commands in Spanish
Let’s learn some Spanish!
Did you notice that that sentence is a command? Most commands are part of the imperative mood, one of three moods in the Spanish language.
However, not all commands have to be conjugated directly in the imperative mood. That’s where the nosotros commands come into the picture.
If, for example, you want to order your kid to learn Spanish using the imperative mood you would say:
Aprende español. (Learn Spanish.)
But, if you want to include yourself in the process of learning Spanish, then you have to say:
¡Aprendamos español! (Let’s learn some Spanish!)
Imperative Mood and Nosotros Commands
In Spanish, you have the indicative, subjunctive, and imperative moods to conjugate verbs. The indicative is the “normal” one, the subjunctive expresses hopes or wishes, and the imperative is the mood to use when you want to give an order or command.
However, the Spanish language also has a series of commands, such as the nosotros commands that are the subject of this article. These commands play the same role as the “let’s” sentences in English, giving a command to a group of people that includes the speaker.
The Imperative Mood
Besides being the mood used to give orders, the imperative has other distinctive qualities such as not including a subject most of the time, and being almost exclusively conjugated in the second person (as you can’t give orders to yourself or to a third person).
You use the imperative mood to give commands and orders, to make suggestions, to ask for things, to warn or give advice, and to give instructions. On this blog post, you can learn about some of the most common imperatives.
“Let’s do it!”
How do you express that idea in Spanish? Using the nosotros command: ¡Hagámoslo!
While in English the “let’s” construction gives the speaker an opportunity to be included in the action, in Spanish you only have to conjugate the verb in the first person plural and add a pronoun if needed.
Let’s learn about the nosotros commands!
Two Types of Nosotros Commands
The nosotros commands come in a series of different flavors, they depend mostly on the verb used and how it behaves. Also, every nosotros command has its negative form.
Throughout this post, I’ve been using the “let’s” construction several times, because this kind of sentence has an equivalent in Spanish that classifies as a nosotros command: vamos a…
The structure of this command is built as follows:
Verb ir (present tense first person plural) + preposition a (to) + an action (verb in infinitive)
An easier way to remember: Vamos a + infinitive.
Vamos (verb ir) + a (preposition) + correr (“to run” – action).
Vamos a correr. – Let’s run.
Vamos a hacer un esfuerzo. – Let’s make an effort.
Vamos a dormir. – Let’s go to sleep.
This kind of nosotros command is the simplest one. However, if you want to express a negative command, you have to change vamos for vayamos:
No vayamos a correr.
No vayamos a hacer un esfuerzo.
No vayamos a dormir.
Subjunctive Nosotros Commands
Although the nosotros commands are an expression of the imperative mood, they use the first person plural (nosotros – we) of subjunctive in the present tense. So, basically if you know the subjunctive conjugation you already know how to use this type of nosotros commands.
Let’s see a few subjunctive conjugations of different verbs and then use these verbs as nosotros commands:
|Verb||Subjunctive (3rd Person Plural)||Nosotros Command|
|cantemos||¡Cantemos un villancico!
(Let’s sing a Christmas carol!)
|hagamos||¡Hagamos un muñeco de nieve!
(Let’s make a snowman!)
|escribamos||Escribamos un libro.
(Let’s write a book.)
To form a negative nosotros command all you need to do is to add a no right before the verb:
¡No cantemos un villancico! – Let’s not sing a Christmas carol!
¡No hagamos un muñeco de nieve! – Let’s not make a snowman!
No escribamos un libro. – Let’s not write a book.
How to Form Subjunctive Nosotros Commands
If you take a closer look at the above table, you can see that while for cantar all you had to do was change the ending -ar for –emos, for hacer and escribir you change the -er, -ir endings for -amos.
Command forms of -AR verbs:
cantar – cantemos (to sing – let’s sing)
trabajar – trabajemos (to work – let’s work)
Command forms of -ER, IR verbs:
hacer – hacemos (to make – let’s make)
escribir – escribimos (to write – let’s write)
Here, it’s important to notice that some -AR verbs need a little tweak to this rule. Those verbs that end in -CAR, -GAR and -ZAR do end in -emos, but because other spelling rules related to the letters C, G and Z, they change a little bit more.
-CAR: C changes to QU
buscar (to look for) – busquemos
educar (to educate) – eduquemos
– GAR: G changes to GU
jugar (to play) – juguemos
pagar (to pay) – paguemos
-ZAR: Z changes to C
empezar (to start) – empecemos
cruzar (to cross) – crucemos
Other Nosotros Commands
Besides the “vamos a” and the subjunctive form, other types of nosotros commands exist. Let’s see how they work:
Nosotros Commands With Pronouns
Sometimes, when you have an affirmative sentence you can substitute the direct and indirect object with pronouns, to avoid repeating the same words:
|Affirmative Sentence||Direct and Indirect Pronouns|
|Bebemos gaseosa. (We drink soda.)||La bebemos. (We drink it.)|
|Le damos un abrazo a mamá. (We give a hug to Mom.)||Se lo damos. (We give it to her.)|
Well, you can also transform those sentences into nosotros commands:
|Direct and Indirect Pronouns||Nosotros Commands with Pronouns|
|La bebemos||Bebámosla (Let’s drink it.)|
|Se lo damos.||Démoselo. (Let’s give it to her.)|
Now, let’s see how the pronouns work in all their possible variations with the direct object pronoun (D.O.P.), the indirect object pronoun (I.O.P.) or the reflexive pronoun (R.P.).
Nosotros command + D.O.P.:
Cantemos las canciones. (Let’s sing the songs.) – cantémoslas
Hagamos la tarea. (Let’s do the homework.) – hagámosla
Escribamos los textos. (Let’s write the texts.) – escribámoslos
Pintemos el coche. (Let’s paint the car.) – pintémoslo
Nosotros command + I.O.P.:
|Respondamos la pregunta a Juan.
(Let’s answer the question to Juan.)
|Respondámosle la pregunta.
(Let’s answer the question to him.)
|Expliquemos la tarea el grupo.
(Let’s explain the homework to the group.)
|Expliquemosles la tarea.
(Let’s explain the homework to them.)
Nosotros command + R.P.:
|Nos pintamos las uñas.
(We paint our nails ourselves.)
|Pintémonos las uñas.
(Let’s paint our nails.)
|Nos cortamos el cabello.
(We cut our hair ourselves.)
|Cortémonos el cabello.
(Let’s cut our hair.)
For the negative form, all you have to do is to add the pronoun between the no and the verb:
Cantémoslas. – No las cantemos.
Hagámosla – No la hagamos.
Escribámoslos. – No los escribamos.
Pintémoslo. – No lo pintemos.
Respondámosle la pregunta. – No le respondamos la pregunta.
Expliquémosles la tarea. – No les expliquemos la tarea.
Pintémonos las uñas. – No nos pintemos las uñas.
Cortémonos el cabello. – No nos cortemos el cabello.
A few irregular verbs have to be taken into consideration when talking about nosotros commands. The following are the most common:
|Infinitive Verb||Affirmative nosotros||Negative nosotros|
|Haber (to have)||hayamos||no hayamos|
|Saber (to know)||sepamos||no sepamos|
|Ser (to be)||seamos||no seamos|
|Ver (to see)||veamos||no veamos|
|Ir (to go)||vamos||no vayamos|
For irregular Yo form verbs, the nosotros command uses the same conjugation as the subjunctive. For example:
|Infinitive Verb||Subjunctive Conjugation (3rd person plural)||Nosotros command|
|Poner (to put)||pongamos||pongamos|
|Traer (to bring)||traigamos||traigamos|
|Ofrecer (to offer)||ofrezcamos||ofrezcamos|
The stem-changing verbs ending in -AR, -ER do not change in any way when converted into nosotros commands. They just use the conjugation of the present tense subjunctive. However, the -IR stem-changing verbs do have slight variations: if there is an e it changes to i, and if there is an o it changes to u.
Vestir (to dress) – vistamos
Pedir (to ask) – pidamos
Dormir (to sleep) – durmamos
¡Vamos a aprender!
Now you know all you need to use nosotros commands in a conversation in Spanish. At Homeschool Spanish Academy, we have plenty of native Spanish-speakers waiting to talk with you and help you to apply this new knowledge of yours. Sign up today for a free trial lesson with one of certified Spanish teachers from Guatemala, and improve your fluency while mastering these tricky nosotros commands!
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