How To Say “No” in Spanish: 23 Words and Phrases Used All the Time

There are many unique ways to say “no” in Spanish, just like in English.

The “no” you use with a child isn’t the same “no” you used with your boss. And both are different from the “no!” you shout when your brother asks to borrow money for the 50th time.

In this post, you’ll learn 23 ways to say “no” in Spanish like a native speaker.

Contents

How To Say “No” in Spanish

1. No — No

Although “no” in Spanish and English look exactly the same, they don’t sound exactly the same.

The pronunciations are different, and saying “no” in Spanish the same you do in English will make you sound like a true gringo (foreigner)!

The o in the Spanish “no” is shorter and sharper than in English. Compare the two sounds by clicking on the audio icons below:

Spanish: No 

English: No

Note: Unlike with standard English, double negatives are correct in Spanish.

So using no with negative words like nunca (never), nadie (no one) or nada (nothing) is completely correct. For example:

No bebo cerveza nunca. (I don’t ever drink beer.)

Él no habló con nadie en la fiesta. (He didn’t speak to anyone at the party.)

Nadie vio nada nuevo allí. (No one saw anything new there.)

2. No gracias — No, thank you

This is a basic, polite way to express that, “really, I’d rather not.”

¿Quieres una copa de sake japonés? (Do you want a cup of Japanese sake?)

No gracias. (No, thank you.)

3. Qué va — No way

While it literally means “what goes,” this is used to express that you cannot believe what the other person is saying and find it to be nonsense.

Vámonos a alimentar a los caimanes. (Let’s go feed the alligators.)

¡Qué va! (No way!)

4. Nunca — Never

This word is one of the most forceful ways to say “no” in Spanish. It leaves no chance of misinterpretation!

¿Te casarás conmigo? (Will you marry me?)

¡Nunca! (Never!)

5. Claro que no  — Of course not

This phrase translates literally to “clearly not” or “of course not”.

¿Dejaste la puerta sin llave? (Did you leave the door unlocked?)

Claro que no. Siempre la cierro con llave. (Of course not. I always lock it.)

6. Lo suficiente — It’s enough

This “no” is implied. When there is enough of something, you do not need any more. Just respond to a question like “Do you want more of this?” with “That’s enough.”

¿Quieres que suba el volumen? (Do you want me to turn up the volume?)

El volumen está bien. Lo suficiente. (The volume is fine. It’s enough.)

7. Ni hablar — Forget it, no way

Use this expression when something is so completely wrong you cannot even consider it. It is often followed by que to mean “there is no way that…”

Las películas de Walt Disney son mejores que las de Don Bluth. (Walt Disney’s movies are better than Don Bluth’s.)

¿Estás loco? Ni hablar que Disney es mejor que Bluth. (Are you crazy? No way is Disney better than Bluth.)

8. Ni se te ocurra  Don’t even think about it

Someone has a really bad idea? Use this “no.”

¡Escucha! Nosotros robaremos del Vaticano mañana por la noche. (Listen! We will rob from the Vatican tomorrow night.)

¿Qué? Ni se te ocurra. (What? Don’t even think about it.)

9. Ni lo sueñes — No way

This expression is close to the English “in your dreams!”

Bueno, no robaremos del Vaticano. Hurtaremos la Mona Lisa del Louvre. (Okay, we won’t rob the Vatican. We’ll steal the Mona Lisa from the Louvre.)

¡Estás loco! Ni lo sueñes. (You’re crazy! No way!)

10. Por supuesto que no — Of course not

This phrase is an additional way to say “of course not”.

¿Él reprobó el examen? (Did he fail the exam?)

¡Por supuesto que no! Estudió mucho. (Of course not! He studied a lot.)

11. De eso nada — It’s not happening

Use this one to express a firm negative answer to a suggestion.

Quiero ser rico. Viajaremos a Japón y… (I want to be rich. We’ll travel to Japan and…)

¡No! ¡De eso nada! (No! It’s not happening!)

12. De ninguna manera — No way

This expression literally means “not in any way” and is actually the closest in meaning to the English “no way.”

Bueno, podemos robar el Diamante de la esperanza del Smithsonian. (Okay, we can steal the Hope Diamond from the Smithsonian.)

De ninguna manera. El Diamante de la esperanza está maldito. (No way. The Hope Diamond is cursed.)

13. Para nada — No way

Meaning “for nothing; at all,” this phrase is often used to emphasize a negation. Used by itself, its meaning is close to “not at all” and it is a softer way to say “no.”

Podemos robar las zapatillas de rubí del Smithsonian. (We can steal the ruby slippers from the Smithsonian.)

Para nada. Pensé que las zapatillas de “El mago de Oz” eran de plata. (No way. I thought the slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” were made of silver.)

14. No puede ser — It can’t be

Have you ever responded with an astounded “nooo!” when something is beyond belief? This is the Spanish equivalent of that.

No puede ser. Las zapatillas siempre han sido de rubí. (It can’t be. The slippers have always been ruby.)

15. Ni de broma  — No way

This colloquial phrase translates most closely to “not even as a joke”. It is used to mean something like “no way,” “not a chance” or “not on your life”. 

Creo que este yogur está podrido. ¡Ven aquí y huélelo! (I think this yogurt is spoiled. Come here and smell it!)

¡Qué asco! ¡Ni de broma! (Yuck! No way!)

16. ¿En serio? — Are you serious?

Use this when you are bewildered that the speaker is even asking their question. Think: “You need more money? Seriously?”

¿Quieres escuchar más juegos de palabras? (Do you want to hear more puns?)

¿En serio? (Are you serious?)

17. No me digas — Don’t tell me that

When you are not interested, shake someone off with this phrase.

Sé muchos juegos de palabras en ambos inglés y español. (I know many puns in both English and Spanish.)

No me digas. (Don’t tell me that.)

18. Ya basta  Enough already

When you have finally had enough, this phrase will declare that you are really not interested.

Bueno, comenzaré con mis juegos de palabras con “no.” (Okay, I’ll start with my puns about “no.”)

¿Por qué me odias? Ya basta. (Why do you hate me? Enough already.)

Powerful Verbs for Saying “No” in Spanish

As strange as it sounds, you don’t always have to use “no.” You can use verbs to convey your meaning, too.

Notice that I used the imperative mood (command verb forms) in the example sentences. This is used when you want to be direct, get someone’s attention or give a “command.”

When the imperative is combined with off-putting vocal tones and body language, your intention to say “no” is implied, even if you don’t actually say the word.

The best way to practice these little nuances is by speaking the language and hearing it. This is why I suggest watching lots of Spanish movies or videos, or using an immersion program like FluentU.

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19. Dejar — To leave, to quit

¡Déjame en paz! (Leave me in peace! / Leave me alone!)

20. Irse — To go away, to leave

Tus bromas son horribles. ¡Vete! (Your jokes are horrible. Go away!)

21. Parar — To stop

¡Para de hacer estos juegos de palabras! (Stop making puns!)

22. Cerrar — To close

Cierra la boca que no quiero oír más. (Close your mouth because I don’t want to hear any more.)

23. Callarse — To be quiet

¡Cállate ya! (Be quiet now!)

It goes without saying that many of these are quite rude and should only be used with people you know well, like that money-grubbing metaphorical brother of yours.

 

There are many ways to say “no” in Spanish—many don’t even use the word no!

Work through this list and watch as you blow away native speakers when using these phrases in the wild!

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