Negative Forms

Usage of ‘No’ in Spanish Negative Forms

  • In Spanish, to make a sentence negative, place the word “no” directly before the verb, for example, “Yo como” (I eat) becomes “Yo no como” (I don’t eat).
  • For verbs like “gustar”, extend the negative form to both parts of the sentence as in “No me gusta” (I don’t like).
  • If you have an infinitive after a verb, “no” only goes in front of the first verb: “Ellos quieren comer” (They want to eat) becomes “Ellos no quieren comer” (They don’t want to eat).
  • When responding negatively in Spanish, use “no” twice, once for “no” and again before the verb: ¿Hablas español? No, no hablo español.

Spanish Negative Words and Their Usage

  • To express never, the word “nunca” is used. It can be placed before or after the verb. For example, “Nunca estudio” or “Estudio nunca” both translate to “I never study”.
  • “Tampoco” is used to show agreement with a negative statement. For example, if someone says “No me gusta correr” (I don’t like to run), you can respond “A mí tampoco” (Me neither).
  • “Nada” means nothing and is used either after the verb or at the end of the sentence: No comprendo nada (I don’t understand anything).

Spanish Double Negatives

  • Note that in double negatives, Spanish does not follow the same rules as English. In Spanish, a double negative intensifies the negation, but in English, it creates a positive statement. For instance, “No tengo nada” literally translates to “I don’t have nothing”, which in English conveys a positive statement. However, in Spanish, it intensifies the negation implying “I have nothing”.

Practice Makes Perfect

  • Remember sufficient practice will develop a natural instinct to correctly position these negative words in your sentences.