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I want to ask a question about the function of the word nos.

From previous experience in German, I know that different elements of a sentence can take different "cases" or "dresses" depending on its purpose in a sentence. This can be "dative", "accusative" etc, although I like to think about "direct effect" and "transfer of something" and also nominative, the standard case.

When reading the sentence

El fin de semana nos vamos al campo.

The nos pronoun slightly confused me.

I know the sentence reads:

At the end of the week (weekend) we go to the countryside

But I thought if the subject of the sentence (who is doing the travelling) is us, I thought it should be nosotros i.e.

El fin de semana nosotros vamos al campo.

or even better

El fin de semana vamos al campo.

But nos I discovered is the pronoun for an accusative or dative situation.

Why is this the case? Why can't the sentence simply just read:

El fin de semana vamos al campo.

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    The verb is irse (to leave), not ir. – Traveller Jun 29 '19 at 13:34
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The verb ir in its main meaning, also admits being used as pronominal, with a reflexive pronoun (irse, irte, me voy, that is what the abbreviation U. t. c. prnl. in the linked DLE article means, see screenshot below). It's just idiomatic (arbitrary) and doesn't affect the meaning.

screenshot of the relevant DLE entry

Both forms, El fin de semana vamos al campo and El fin de semana nos vamos al campo are equivalent.

Usage note: Which one to use depends on taste, local use, level of politeness, etc. If you are unsure, I'd suggest to pick the easiest and most universal one (i.e., without the pronoun).

  • This could be very subjective, but I think I would use "vamos" when talking to somebody who is included in "us" opposed to "nos vamos" when the other person is not included in the group. For example: "A dónde se van?" -> "Nos vamos al campo"; and "A dónde vamos a ir? -> "Vamos al campo". I still agree on both sentences having the same meaning, I was just thinking why would I naturally use one over the other in some situations. – Daniel Duque Jul 2 '19 at 5:07
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Like others said, @vik1245, both constructions mean exactly the same, with very subtle (if any) differences in what's implied. I (native Spanish speaker) would use them interchangeably for the exact same purpose.

Strictly speaking you do not need to use any pronoun in many Spanish sentences, as the verb conjugation will immmediately tell you who the subject is ("vamos" refers clearly the first-person plural); this is called null-subject ("sujeto tácito" or "sujeto elíptico" in Spanish). Using the "nos" reflexive pronoun in this sentence is purely a colloquialism (I guess you could argue that in this sentece "ir" is turned into a pronominal verb, still for the sake of making it colloquial).

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“Nos” is a personal pronoun and you can replace it by “nosotros”. Although in most cases, it is safe to replace “nos” by “nosotros”, there is a slight difference in usage.

When you say “El fin de semana nos vamos al campo” in most cases, you are implying it will happen in the future. You are also implying it will be the closest weekend and it will be only once.

Notice that it is implied, but you can safely use it to mean that every weekend you and other people go to the countryside.

“El fin de vamos al campo” has the same meaning, it is correct and you will see people using it that way without problem. Although it sounds more formal. The pronoun “nos” makes it more colloquial.

If you ask a family “¿Are you planning to go somewhere in the near future?” one of them could easily answer “Si, el fin de semana nos vamos al campo”, but they could easily use “El fin de semana nosotros vamos al campo”, “El fin de semana vamos al campo”, or even “vamos a ir al campo”.

There is however a little misconstruction in the last two sentences if they are talking about future. “vamos” is the infinitive of “ir” in the third person of plural. These are the conjugations of “ir”:

Yo voy

Tú vas

Él va

Nosotros vamos

Vosotros vais

Ellos van

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    Welcome to the site, and thank you for your answer! I'm afraid that the use of nos in the place of nosotros is archaic and I don't think it's what's going on here – Rafael Jun 29 '19 at 19:18
  • Correct, the reason of this question is because nos is used as a reflexive pronoun like : "me" , "te, "se", "nos" – Mike Jul 1 '19 at 15:26

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