Learn Some Common Negative Words in Spanish
Today, we’ll look at how to deny something or express disagreement when communicating in Spanish. Let’s begin by listing the most common negative words and their translations:
|Nadie||Nobody, no one|
|Ni siquiera||Not even|
Using double negation
In Spanish, it’s very common to find a double negation in the same sentence. This happens when we find two negative words in combination with the verb, with usually one of these being “no.” This way, the sentence gains more emphasis in its purpose to convey a negative meaning or denial. Take a look at the following two examples:
Tip: Click on any of the linked sentences in this article (while on a mobile) to add them directly to your Fluent Forever app, so you can study them later. Don’t have our app yet? Download it here!
- Probó mi carne de cerdo rellena con manzana, pero no me dijo nada. (He tried my apple-stuffed pork, but he did not say nothing. [literal translation])
Note: In English, it is grammatically incorrect to use double negation. In the above case, instead of “he didn’t say nothing,” the correct usage would be “he didn’t say anything.”
- Nadie prueba nunca el pastel de manzanas infusionadas en aceite y sal que suelo preparar para Acción de Gracias. (Nobody ever tries the salt- and oil-infused apple pie that I usually prepare for Thanksgiving.)
Note: In English, we use “ever” instead of “never” because there is already one negative phrase at the beginning of the sentence (“nobody.”)
Practice with additional examples
- Vinieron a cenar ayer por la noche y ni siquiera probaron mi carne de cerdo horneada en aceite de manzana y sal. (They came for dinner last night and did not even try my pork baked in apple oil and salt.)
Note: Here, ni siquiera (not even) manifests disappointment within a negative context. Grammatically it acts as an adverb, so its positive variant or antonym would be incluso (even).
- Ninguno de los que fue a la fiesta probó la carne de cerdo especiada con aromas de manzana. (None of those who attended the party tried the apple-scented spiced pork.)
Note: In the above sentence, ninguno (none) fulfills the function of an indefinite pronoun. If found next to a noun it acts as an adjective, in which case it has to agree in gender and number, e.g. No tengo ninguna amiga (I don’t have any friends).
- La carne de cerdo que pedí en el restaurante estaba tan seca que no tenía ni aceite ni sal. (The pork I ordered at the restaurant was so dry that it had neither oil nor salt.)
Note: The negative expression ni…ni (neither…nor) acts mostly as a double negation, and is always preceded by “no + verb.” We use it exclusively to deny two or more terms.
We can agree that now you’re well equipped to disagree, so keep practicing those negatives!
You can also check out some special negative expressions in this article.
[shareaholic app="share_buttons" id="28313910"]
Written by Nicole Oliveira
Enjoy what you're reading?
Sign up for more