June 11, 2020 ·

Negative Words and Negation in Spanish

Negative Words and Negation in Spanish


negations in spanish

We have already learned about making simple affirmative statements:

  • Él trabaja en el supermercado.
  • He works at the supermarket.
  • Ella es doctora.
  • She is a doctor.

When we want to make a sentence negative, we place the word “no” before the verb:

  • Él no trabaja en el supermercado.
  • He does not work at the supermarket.
  • Ella no es doctora.
  • She is not a doctor.

When we respond to a question and the response is negative, the use of two negative words is required:

  • ¿Vos hablás español? (Do you speak Spanish?)
  • No. No hablo español. (No. I don’t speak Spanish.)
  • ¿ Están tus padres en la casa? (Are your parents at home?)
  • No. Mis padres no están en casa. (No. My parents are not home.)
  • ¿Siempre vas al supermercado los sábados? (Do you always go to the supermarket on Saturday?)
  • No, nunca voy al supermercado los sábados. (No, I never go to the supermarket on Saturdays.)

Below is a list of affirmative words an their corresponding negative pairs:

  • algo (something)
  • nada (nothing)
  • alguien (somebody)
  • nadie (nobody)
  • algún (-o, -a, -os, -as) (some, something)
  • ningún (-o, -a, -os, -as) (no, none)
  • siempre (always)
  • nunca (never) jamás (never, ever)
  • también (also)
  • tampoco (neither, not either)
  • o . . . o (either . . . or)
  • ni . . . ni (neither . . . nor)

Negative words can be used in many different ways in Spanish as opposed to English:

Nadie come.Nobody eats.
Ella nunca corre.She never runs.
Agustín tampoco nada.Agustín doesn’t swim either.
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The negative words can also be used with the word “no,” following the verb. Note that unlike English, double negatives are acceptable in Spanish:

No habla nadie.Nobody speaks.
Él no come nunca.He never eats.
Alfredo no baila tampoco.Alfredo doesn’t dance either.
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It is possible for three negative words to exist in the same sentence:

  • No como nada nunca.
  • I never eat anything.
  • Ella no come nada tampoco.
  • She doesn’t eat anything either.

It is even possible to have four negative words in the same sentence:

  • Yo no veo nunca a nadie tampoco.
  • I never see anybody either.

In Spanish, we do not usually use negative and affirmative words in the same sentence, as we do in English:


  • Ellen doesn’t want anything.
  •  Ellen doesn’t want nothing.


  • Ellen no quiere nada.
  • Ellen no quiere algo.

When referring to a masculine noun, alguno and ninguno drop the -o

  • ¿Tenés algún libro?
  • No, no tengo ningún libro.

When using the singular form of a verb, ninguno(a) is usually used:

¿Tenés algunos libros?No, no tengo ninguno.
¿Ténes algunas manzanas?No, no tengo ninguna.

When the noun that ninguno(a) modifies is plural, we also have to make ninguno(a) plural:

  • No me gusta que me hagan ningunas cosquillas.
  • I do not like that they tickle me at all.

In this example “ningunas” is used because “cosquillas” is normally used in plural form.

Do you know the difference between VOS vs TU?

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