This is lesson 10 in Crashed Culture’s Spanish Grammar Series.
Negation in Spanish
Negation in Spanish is, fortunately, just as simple as it is in English – just a matter of adding no (or not) in the right place. And, if you don’t already know by now, the Spanish word for “no” is no anyways, so this is a walk in the park!
Here is everything anybody ever needs to know about negation in Spanish.
Making negative words
So in English, negative words are made by adding “not” after the verb:
The sky is blue; the sky is not blue.
The girl is happy; the girl is not happy.
We speak Spanish; we do not speak Spanish.
In Spanish, negative words are made by adding no before the verb:
El cielo es azul; el cielo no es azul.
La chica está contenta; la chica no está contenta.
Nosotras hablamos español; nosotras no hablamos español.
And that’s as simple as that.
Answering questions – how to say no in Spanish
Again, just like in English, we plain and simple use “no” to answer questions negatively:
Are you okay? No, I’m not okay.
Is Carlos here? No, he’s not here.
Is the house clean? No, the house isn’t clean.
¿Estás bien? No, no estoy bien.
¿Carlos está aquí? No, Carlos no está aquí.
¿La casa está limpia? No, la casa no está limpia.
Going from affirmative to negative
Using some key words, we can switch from affirmative to negative statements – again, just like English. Here’s the key vocab you need to differentiate:
*These words need to match the noun they describe and also drop their accents. In the example below, algunas and ningunas are both used (sans accents) to describe bebidas. Algún and ningún are only used when the subject is singular and masculine.
**Technically, nunca and jamás both mean “never”. However, jamás is used in a more enthusiastic context, kind of like “I would die before doing that”.
Negative sentences: examples
Is something wrong? No, nothing is wrong
¿Algo está mal? No, nada está mal.
Is somebody here? No, nobody is here.
¿Alguien está aquí? No, nadie está aquí.
Do you need some drinks? No, I don’t need any drinks.
¿Necesitas algunas bebidas? No, no necesito ningunas bebidas.***
Are you always late? No, I’m never late.
¿Siempre llegas tarde? No, nunca llego tarde.
Are you also ready? No, I’m not ready, either.
¿También estás listo? No, no estoy listo tampoco.***
You’re either here or there. You’re neither here nor there.
Sí, estás o aquí o allí. No, estás ni aquí ni allí.
***In English, double negatives are a no-no (pun absolutely intended). In Spanish, double negatives are more than welcome! In fact, you should always use double negatives as opposed to an affirmative word (ie. any) in a negative sentence.
More negative sentences: examples
So there we have all the negative sentences examples anybody could ever need – at least one using every kind of word or concept. But you know I’m not going to leave you with just that, right? The more negative sentences examples, the better!
Ready to move on?
Check out the next lesson: days, months, & seasons