Translation:Let's eat apples!
Hola Supppentrulli: "Vamos a comer manzanas" and "Comamos manzanas" both can mean "Let's eat apples", However, "Vamos a comer manzanas" can ALSO mean: "We are going to eat apples". It depends on the context and tone of the conversations.
"Vamos" is present indicative tense, first person plural ("we"). It can mean "we go", "we are going", "we do go". It is used in normal, present tense sentences.
"Vayamos" is present subjunctive tense, first person plural ("we"). It would normally be used in the secondary clause of a sentence to mean: "that we go", "we may go", "we might go", "we will go", etc., depending on the context and tone of the sentence. The primary clause will contain a word that sets up the need for subjunctive, such as a word of hope, need, desire, want, doubt, etc. Example: I hope that we will go to the party = "Espero que vayamos a la fiesta."
This has an explanation of the difference in use of vamos and vayamos.
Personally, I've heard mostly "vamanos" to mean "Let's go." Technically, it's a form of "irse" so it actually means "Let's leave." However, it's probably regional.
Since I first posted this comment, I have eliminated incorrect material in it as quickly as I understood why it was wrong. Thank you all for your explanations of my errors. I need to state upfront not only that I was writing about my less-than-perfect understanding of Spanish subjunctive verb forms but also that I was ignorant of the fact that the Spanish first person plural of any regular verb is the same in both subjunctive mood and imperative mood. (This may also apply to irregular Spanish verbs, but I don't know enough to say so definitively.)
What led me down the garden path of incorrect theses was the use of "let's" in the colloquial English interpretation. If anyone can explain why "let's" is used in this colloquial way with Spanish first person plural verbs, I would greatly appreciate it. Is it just a Spanish idiom that is a given?
Note: I came back to this yet again, and I think I answered this question down below.
Coming back to this problematic post of mine, I wanted to add in a second comment that I made the error of using "comamos" instead of "comer" because I was thinking of how some Spanish subjunctive sentences have a first clause followed by a second clause, with either the first clause, the second clause, or both being in the subjunctive mood. From this lesson, however, I now realize that the Spanish imperative mood uses the same verb form as the Spanish subjunctive mood because issuing a command is different from guaranteeing that it will be followed. In other words, the conjugation is the same for both moods because of the uncertainty factor.
Since I wrote my comment to Furbolg, I have learned that English DOES have a subjunctive mood, although it has not been taught in the U.S., at least where I live, for many years. Unfortunately, my comment contained errors that may have confused or misled others. For this, I apologize.
When I wrote the original comment, I was not aware that when a second Spanish verb follows a first in a compound verb, the second is usually in infinitive form (excepting, of course, the helping verbs "estar" and "haber" as the first verb of a Spanish verb concatenation). For example, as Andreaja69 pointed out, ¡Vayamos a comer! (Let's eat!) is correct, and ¡Vayamos a comamos! is wrong.
Also, I was flat-out wrong about "vamos" being an elision of "vayamos." As Lisapignura stated, "vamos" is Spanish present tense indicative mood and "vayamos" is Spanish present tense subjunctive mood. The word "vamos" being shorter than the word "vayamos" has nothing to do with elision.
Thank you for pointing out my typo. I have corrected it. Also, since posting the comment above, I have learned that English subjunctive sentences also follow the WEIRDO rules when hypotheticals are discussed. See my comment about the English subjunctive in the Discussion Section at:
First person imperative
To make a 1st person command let's ____(insert verb) we have two options
1) Use 'vamos a __' (insert verb infinitive) form
Vamos a comer
2) Use the nosotros subjunctive form of the verb.
Eg. [No] comamos allí ==> Let's [not] eat here
But there is an exception in the case of ir
For affirmative, use vamos
For negative, use no vayamos
Note placing the pronouns
- Vamos a infinitive form
Vamos a sentarnor
- Imperative form (affirmative only)
Drop the final s. Attach the pronoun. Add accent to second last syllable.
Nos vamos ==> vámonos
Nos sentemos ==> Sentémonos
se lo hagamos ==> hagámosla
No nos sentarnos
No sé la hagamos
You would know by the conjugation of the verb, and it is third person plural (we). The only commands one can use for (you) eat apples! are 'You' which are Tú, Usted, and Usteds. The we command includes both the speaker and someone else. In English it translates as 'Let's eat apples'.
This is called the imperative mood and it is conjugated as the following:
(tú) come=Eat, (usted) coma,=Eat, (nosotros) comamos=Let's Eat, (vosotros) comed=Eat (used in Spain), (ustedes) coman=Eat (Used in Spain and Latin America,
negativo: no comas=Don't Eat, no coma=Don't Eat, no comamos=Let's Not Eat, no comáis=Don't Eat (Spain), no coman=Don't Eat (Spain and Latin America)
Thank you, jfGor, for your excellent explanation, but I just want to add that "vamos" is not third person plural. "Vamos" (literally, "we go") is first person plural. Because "vamos" has the first person plural subject pronoun "nosotros," a more literal translation into English of the colloquial Spanish "vamos a" (We are going to/Let us) must include a pronoun that means "we." That is why the English object pronoun "us" is a necessary translation when "vamos" + "a" is translated colloquially as "let us go" (literally, "let us to go"). In this translation, the English null subject is "you," and the direct object is "us."
Unlike Spanish Command Mood, which inflects verbs with a suffix (in the case of "comer," the declension "-amos"), English commands don't use the verb "let" because only the null second person "you" is used as the subject of singular and plural imperative mood sentences. The English verb "let" is typically thought of as being used with a suggestion rather than a command, as a way of making a "command" sound less harsh. For example, a villain might snarl "Sit down," but a doctor might say "Let's sit down." The doctor is also ordering you to sit, but he is saying it more politely.
This being said, from the other comments here made by native Spanish speakers, I deduce that "ir" + "a" is colloquially a command. That is why Lurker_Wolfie used the term "first person imperative." Your two comments, jfGor, helped me put it together that "vamos a" is an example of Spanish first person imperative. "Comamos" is Spanish Imperative Mood formed with the suffix "-amos," which is Spanish first person plural, and hence, Spanish First Person Imperative. English has ONLY a third person imperative, which is used with the singular or plural null subject "you."
Can anyone give an example of the "tú/vosotros" declensions of the Imperative and Subjunctive Moods? Also, are you saying that all of the declensions of the Spanish imperative and subjunctive moods are always the same, except for specific irregular verbs and except for Spanish second person familiar?
Subjunctive generally does not show up independently; there is always some context for it -- introduction in a "si" (if) clause, or being part of a phrase that's dependent on an earlier verb like querer, dudar, etc. If you see a bare verb that's in a subjunctive-like form, it's probably a command.
This isn't subjunctive, it's imperative -- it's a command. (Subjunctive is for talking about speculative or counterfactual situations, and the 2nd-plural subjunctive is vayamos.)
"Vamos" is special. The verb "ir" is super-duper-irregular. As it happens, its 2nd plural imperative form is the same as its 2nd plural present indicative form. So, "Vamos a la playa," can be either indicative, "We're going to the beach," or imperative, "Let's go to the beach."
English commands have no written subject. The subject of an English command is always understood to be either singular or plural "you."
Unlike English, Spanish additionally has a first person plural verb form for Spanish imperative mood. Because its null pronoun subject is not "understood" when such a verb form is translated into English, the phrase "let us" is used to indicate that the people in question are "us," which is the first person plural objective case pronoun.
The conjugation is first-plural, meaning it's a command directed at a "we", a group that includes the speaker. In English, the way we convey that idea is almost always, "Let's [verb]". "Eat apples!" can be directed at one person or multiple people, but it cannot be directed at yourself.