Grammar: Verbs - Negative Forms

Grammar: Verbs - Negative Forms

Using ‘No’ in Negative Sentences

  • One of the simplest forms of negative sentences in Spanish involves placing ‘no’ before the verb: “Yo no como” (I do not eat).
  • When giving negative commands in Spanish, place the ‘no’ before the verb: “No comas” (Don’t eat).

Negative Expression of Non-Existent Things or Actions

  • To express “never”, we use the word “nunca”. This can be used either before or after the verb, but if it’s used after, we also insert “no” before the verb: “Yo nunca leo” or “Yo no leo nunca” (I never read).
  • Jamás” and “ni…siquiera” are emphatic forms of expressing negatives in Spanish, which mean “never” and “not even” respectively: “Jamás haré eso” (I will never do that), “No tengo ni siquiera un minuto” (I don’t have even a minute).

Using Negation Words for ‘Nobody’, ‘Nothing’, and ‘Not Any’

  • Nadie” means “nobody” or “no one”. It is used after the verb with the inclusion of ‘no’ before the verb: “No veo a nadie” (I don’t see anyone).
  • If you wish to say “nothing” in Spanish, use “nada”. When used after the verb, we also insert ‘no’ before the verb: “No quiero nada” (I don’t want anything).
  • We use “ningun” before masculine singular nouns and “ninguna” before feminine singular nouns to signify “no” or “not any”: “No tengo ningún lápiz” (I don’t have any pencil), “No tengo ninguna pluma” (I don’t have any pen).

Negative Coordinating Words

  • The word “tampoco” is used to say “neither” or “nor”: “No me gusta el té, tampoco el café” (I don’t like tea, nor coffee).
  • When we want to say “either…or” we use “o….o”. If in negative sentences, “ni” is used: “No quiero ni pan ni agua” (I want neither bread nor water).

Negation in Contextual Phrases

  • After certain words expressing negativity or denial such as “no”, “nada”, “nadie”, “ninguno”, Spanish uses “que” where English would use “that” in some contexts: “No creo que venga” (I don’t suppose that he’ll come). This structure is quite common and requires the subjunctive.

Note on Double Negatives in Spanish

  • It’s important to note that double negatives are grammatically correct in Spanish, which is not the case in English.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Reading, writing, and experimenting with these rules in various constructs will build your fluency and ease of communication.