Negative Sentences in Spanish – How to Form Them

Spanish Negative Sentences and Negative Words

Welcome to our post about negative sentences in Spanish. 

In this lesson, we will learn the basics about how to construct negative sentences in Spanish. For that, we will cover both the negative words we can use as well as their placement in the sentence.

1. Negative word “no”

“No” is the most important word to construct negative sentences. Its usual place is right before the verb:

No leo muchos libros.
I don’t read many books.

Marta no es mi hermana.
Marta isn’t my sister.

¿Tú no has comido todavía?
You haven’t eaten yet?

However, if before the verb there are any Direct Object or Indirect Object or Reflexive Pronouns (“me”, “te”, “se”, “lo”…), we need to place “no” right before them:

No me gusta esta película.
I don’t like this film.

Manuel no se ha levantado.
Manuel hasn’t got up.

Ellos no me lo dan.
They don’t give it to me.


Using “no” twice to emphasize

If we wish to emphasize the negative meaning of the sentence, we can use “no” twice: the first time before a comma, and the second time before the verb as we have explained in this lesson:

No, mis amigos no saben bailar.
No, my friends don’t know how to dance

No, no me gusta pintar.
No, I don’t like painting.

2. Negative words “nada”, “nadie”, “ninguno” and “tampoco”

There are other words often included in negative sentences in Spanish. These words and their meanings are:

  • nada = anything, nothing
  • nadie = anybody, nobody
  • ningún – ninguno/a/os/as = any / none
  • tampoco = either / neither

In general, when we include any of these words in a negative sentence, we have 2 possible spots where to place them: 

  1. Replacing “no” before the verb.
  2. After the verb, keeping “no” before the verb.

Let’s now read example sentences. For each word, we will see both spots where we can place it.

Nada

The following are two ways of saying “I don’t like anything”:

No me gusta nada.

Nada me gusta.

Nadie

Two ways of saying “You don’t know anybody?”:

¿No conoces a nadie?

¿A nadie conoces?

Ningún – Ninguno/a/os/as

Two ways of saying “We aren’t interested in any of them”:

No nos interesa ninguno.

Ninguno nos interesa.

Tampoco

Two ways of saying “We don’t have coffee either”:

No tenemos café tampoco.

Tampoco tenemos café.

3. Practice: A Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about Negative Sentences in Spanish!: