Negative Sentences in Spanish – Learn and Practice Them!

Negative Sentences in Spanish, Learn and Practice Them

Welcome to our grammar lesson about negative words and 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 all the negative words we can use and where to place them.

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 normal 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 there are any Direct Object, Indirect Object or Reflexive Pronouns (me, te, se, lo…), we need to place “no” right before those:

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: first before a comma, and then 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 are often included in negative sentences in Spanish:

  • nada = anything, nothing
  • nadie = anybody, nobody
  • nunca = never
  • ningún-ninguno, ninguna = any, none
  • tampoco = either, neither

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

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


Let’s read some example sentences. For each negative word, we will show the 2 options where to place it:

nada

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

Nada me gusta.

No me gusta nada.


nadie

Two ways of saying “Nobody has a pencil”:

Nadie tiene un lápiz.

No tiene nadie un lápiz.


nunca

Two ways of saying “I never drink alcohol”:

Yo nunca bebo alcohol.

Yo no bebo alcohol nunca.


ningún-ninguno, ninguna

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


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

Hay muchos libros, pero ninguno me interesa.

Hay muchos libros, pero no me interesa ninguno.


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

Ningún libro me interesa.

No me interesa ningún libro.


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

Ninguna página he leído.

No he leído ninguna página.


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


tampoco

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

Tampoco tenemos café.

No tenemos café tampoco.

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 the following 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