Negative Sentences in Spanish – Learn and Practice Them!

Negative Sentences in Spanish, Learn with Examples and Practice Them

Welcome to our grammar lesson about negative sentences in Spanish.

In this lesson, we will learn the basics about how to construct negative sentences.

In order to to that, we will study the negative words we use and where to place them.

And of course we will read many examples.

At the end you’ll find a Quiz and an Exercise for practice.

“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 is not my sister.

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


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

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 nature of a sentence, we can use “no” twice: once before a comma, and then also in its usual place:

No, mis amigos no saben bailar.
No, my friends can’t dance.

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

Other negative words

The following words often appear in negative sentences:

  • nada = anything, nothing
  • nadie = anybody, nobody
  • nunca = never
  • ningún-ninguno, ninguna = any, none, not one
  • tampoco = either, neither

In general we have 2 options where to place these words:

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


Let’s read some examples.

For each negative word, we will show the 2 options where to place it:

nada

Two ways of saying “I don’t like anything”:

No me gusta nada.

Nada me gusta.


nadie

Two ways of saying “Nobody has a pencil”:

No tiene nadie un lápiz.

Nadie tiene un lápiz.


nunca

Two ways of saying “I never drink alcohol”:

Yo no bebo alcohol nunca.

Yo nunca bebo alcohol.


ningún-ninguno, ninguna

  • ningún is masculine, and we use it right before a noun.
  • ninguno is also masculine, but we can’t use it right before a noun.
  • ninguna is feminine.

Two ways of saying “None of the books interest me”:

No me interesa ningún libro.

Ningún libro me interesa.


Two ways of saying “There are many books, but none interests me”:

Hay muchos libros, pero no me interesa ninguno.

Hay muchos libros, pero ninguno me interesa.


Two ways of saying “I haven’t read any page”:

No he leído ninguna página.

Ninguna página he leído.


Note: we also have the plural forms ningunos and ningunas, but we seldom use them. Basically only for nouns that are always plural. For example, “ningunas gafas” = any glasses.


tampoco

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

No tenemos café tampoco.

Tampoco tenemos café.

Practice

Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about negative sentences in Spanish:

Exercise

Fill the gaps with the necessary words to form negative sentences:

1) No sabes ___.
Yo don’t know anything.

2) ___ quiere dormir.
Nobody wants to sleep.

3) No han usado ___ bolsa.
They haven’t used any bag.

4) No conozco ___ museo. No conozco ___.
I don’t know any museum. I don’t know any.

5) María ___ quiere jugar.
María doesn’t want to play.

6) Yo ___ quiero.
I don’t want either.

7) Nueva York es la ciudad que ___ duerme.
New York is the city that never sleeps.

Solutions:
1)
nada
2) Nadie
3) ninguna
4) ningún, ninguno
5) no
6) tampoco
7) nunca