In some languages this would be a type of imperative (first person plural imperative), but seeing as German does not have this feature I am wondering how I can express this desire.

I know of "Los geht's" for "Let's go" but I am wondering if there are ways of expressing, say, "Let's eat" or "Let's dance".


3 Answers 3


In German "let's" or "let us" translates to a type of imperative (first person plural imperative):

Lasst uns

In some context also: lasset uns

Let's visit uncle Tom.
Let's pray.

Lasst uns Onkel Tom besuchen.
Lasset uns beten.

But German also has other constructions to express the same meaning:

Kommt, wir besuchen Onkel Tom.
Kommt, wir beten.

Or as a question:

Wollen wir Onkel Tom besuchen?
Wollen wir beten?

Sometimes you just use the first person plural imperative of the sentence's main verb:

Besuchen wir Onkel Tom!
Beten wir!

There are even more constructions. So, when you translate from English to German you always can use "lasst uns". It is correct German and will be understood everywhere.

But because there are alternatives, native speakers do not use "lasst uns" as often as you might expect. How much those alternatives are used depends on the geographic region. "Lasst uns" is rarely used in the southern regions (Austria, Bavaria), but more frequent in the north. This was topic of this question (asked and answered in German language):
Regionale Verbreitung von »Lass uns …«

  • 2
    In northern Germany also Sollen wir ...? instead of Wollen wir ...?
    – Olafant
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 7:49
  • Leo has a list of ways you can express an imperative; it looks like German and English are remarkably similar in these constructions. German grammars in English tend to only cover the ones involving the actual Imperative mood, but as with English that's only a few of the possibilities. This may give a learner the impression that German isn't as expressive as English in this regard, it is though.
    – RDBury
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 11:48
  • 4
    Just to add that lasset uns, with the e, sounds antiquated, and can only be used if you ironically or seriously want to sound like a priest. Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 7:03
  • @phipsgabler -- I just ran into lasset in a video game, which was confusing me because it's not listed in Wiktionary or any on-line grammar I could find. (I'd since forgotten about it being listed here.) The character using it is the somewhat elderly mayor of a small town. So maybe the game is trying to reinforce the elderly aspect by having him use a dated form? He's not a priest or using it ironically, but he is officiating a public event when he says it so maybe that has something to do with it.
    – RDBury
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 19:25
  • Mayor in a (pseudo)-historic video game is antiquated enough, that totally fits. Forms like this are often used to transmit any kind of historicity through language. Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 20:14

... but seeing as German does not have this feature

First of all that's a huge misconception. German language of course has an imperatve verb form, e.g.:

Setz Dich!
Lasst das!
Fahren wir!

Let's is a short form for let us, which literally translates to lasst uns. This way you can always translate these English phrases:

Let's eat => Lasst uns Essen
Let's dance => Lasst uns Tanzen

It's the imperative form of the verb lassen for 1st person plural.


I'm just a beginner learning to give my three Malinois puppies commands with the German imperative.

But I thought this question was as simple as:

Gehen wir! Essen wir! Tanzen wir!

Am I mistaken? I always use "Gehen wir!" with my pups... Let's go!

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