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How To Make a Sentence Negative With the Spanish Word Tampoco

Now that we’ve learned the basics of how to make a sentence negative, let’s explore how to use one of those words that give sentences a negative sense: tampoco.

Tampoco is very similar to “neither” in English: we use it to mean that something is not true. First, consider this example:

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This is a negative sentence that denies an action. It states that the subject (el camarero) didn’t perform (no vino el viernes). 

However, if we use tampoco instead of no, we wouldn’t just be saying that the waiter didn’t come, but that this has already happened another time:

With that small change, we’re involving another sentence (which is implicit) in our example, so we could form a more complex sentence:

A waiter carrying a basket of potato-sized baked breads.
Waiter! Waiter?
Image by Ira Lee Nesbitt from Pixabay 

Where to place tampoco

In most cases, we’ll want to place tampoco before the verb in the sentence. Check out the following examples:

As you can see in both of these sentences, tampoco appears before the verbs (contar, saltar).

We can also use this word to agree with a negative sentence that has been said before. For instance:

  • No me gustan los perros. (I don’t like dogs.)
  • A mí tampoco. (Me neither.)
  • Ya no soy joven. (I’m not young anymore.)
  • Yo tampoco. (Me neither.)

In each of these examples, the first sentence expresses something negative (grammatically speaking), and tampoco is then used to agree with that statement without having to repeat it.

Note: Tampoco can be translated into “either” or “neither,” depending on the context. When translating El camarero tampoco vino el viernes, we use “either” (The waiter didn’t come on Friday either) as the sentence already contains the negative word “didn’t.” In a sentence like Yo tampoco, we use “neither” because there is no other negative word (Me neither). “Either” can also be translated as cualquiera, depending on the context.

Now you can use tampoco to make your sentences negative. You can also learn how to use sino for the same purpose.

Written by Humberto Aparicio

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