Even if you are an absolute beginner, you already know the two most important words in Spanish.
Let me break it down for you:
Great job! That is one step closer to fluency. Phew!
Now, let’s take one more step: Just like in English, there are many different ways to say “no” in Spanish besides simply saying no.
The “no” you use if a child asks to play with you when you are busy is probably not the same “no” you burst out when your brother asks you to borrow money for the 50th time that month.
Knowing the different ways to say “no” in Spanish will help you sound more natural, add variety to your speech and finally tell your brother who is boss in a way that would make El Patron proud.
It is time to know how to say “no”!
How to Say “No” in Spanish with 19 Different Expressions
Below is a list of common ways to say “no” in Spanish and phrases that convey a negative answer, along with some example sentences for context.
For even more context, we recommend watching authentic videos like the ones on FluentU to hear how native Spanish speakers really use this vocabulary.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
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Plus, if you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
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Common Ways to Say “No” in Spanish
No gracias — No thank you
This is the 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.)
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 you find it to be utter nonsense.
Vámonos a alimentar a los caimanes. (Let’s go feed the alligators.)
¡Qué va! (No way!)
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?)
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 turn up the volume?)
El volumen está bien. Lo suficiente. (The volume is fine. It’s enough.)
Ni hablar — Forget it, no way
When something is so completely wrong you cannot even consider it, use this expression. 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.)
Ni se te occura — 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 occura. (What? Don’t even think about it.)
Ni lo sueñes — No way
This expression is close in meaning 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!)
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!)
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.)
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.)
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.)
Powerful Verbs for Saying “No” in Spanish
As strange as it sounds, you do not have to always use “no” to say no. You can use verbs to convey your meaning, too. It is important to know how to say no… without actually saying no!
In addition to using these verbs, your message can be conveyed through your tone of voice and body language.
Additionally, notice that I used the imperativo (imperative) aka informal command verb forms in the example sentences. The imperativo negativo (negative imperative) conjugation is used when you want to be direct or get someone’s attention.
You simply need the know-how (or should I say “no-how”?): When the negative imperative is combined with off-putting vocal tones and body language, your intention to say “no” is implied.
If this seems odd, remember that you probably do this all the time in English. Just imagine your brother coming to you for the 51st time and asking, “My dearest sibling, can I have some money?”
To which you respond, “Oh go away.”
Implied… but effective!
Dejar — to leave, to quit
¡Déjame en paz! (Leave me in peace! / Leave me alone!)
Irse — to go away, to leave
Tus bromas son horribles. ¡Vete! (Your jokes are horrible. Go away!)
Parar — to stop
¡Para de hacer estos juegos de palabras! (Stop making puns!)
Cerrar — to close
Cierra la boca que no quiero oír más. (Close your mouth because I don’t want to hear any more.)
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.
Other Ways to Say “No” in Spanish
Saying no does not have to be so negative. For even subtler ways to say “no,” check out these expressions to get in the know about “no.”
¿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?)
No me digas — Don’t tell me that
When you are simply 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.)
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.)
There are many ways to say “no” in Spanish and many of them do not even use the word no!
The best way to practice saying no in Spanish is by simply speaking the language.
Ahora, nosotros hablaremos sobre los juegos de palabras en ingles y español que tienen la palabra “no.” (Now, we’ll talk about puns in English and Spanish that have the word “no.”)
¿En serio? No me digas. ¡Déjame en paz! ¡Para y cállate! Ni de coña. ¡Ya basta! (Are you serious? Don’t tell me that! Leave me in peace! Stop and be quiet! No way. Enough already!)
All right, all right! I get the point. I know when to stop.
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