Spanish Negation: How to Master Negative Sentences for Any Scenario

Nunca quieres nada de sopa. (You never want any soup).

Yes, that’s a double negative in Spanish, and it’s grammatically correct!

Creating negative sentences is an important skill to have in any language, and one you’ll likely use daily. 

In this post, you’ll find a list of the most important negation words in Spanish along with plenty of examples in context. Plus, you’ll learn how to use double, triple and even quadruple negations!

Let’s get into the art of Spanish negation.


The Basics of Spanish Negation

English and Spanish share a lot of rules, but more often than not it’s their differences that stand out between them.

Negation isn’t an exception, and there are a couple of things you should take into account when studying la negación en español (negation in Spanish).

1. Negation is simple in Spanish!

I’m talking of course about simple sentences and simple negation. When transforming an affirmative sentence into a negative one, just add no in front of the verb:

Me gusta Polonia. (I like Poland.) → No me gusta Polonia.  (I don’t like Poland.)

Queremos ir al cine. (We want to go to the cinema.) → No queremos ir al cine.  (We don’t want to go to the cinema.)

Mis vecinos han traído regalos. (My neighbors have brought presents.) → Mis vecinos no han traído regalos.  (My neighbors haven’t brought any presents.)

This is also true for questions:

¿Te apetecería venir? (Would you like to come?) → ¿No te apetecería venir?  (Wouldn’t you like to come?)

¿Te acuerdas de Michael? (Do you remember Michael?) → ¿No te acuerdas de Michael?  (Don’t you remember Michael?)

So if you just remember to add no in front of the verb, you can say you’ve mastered 75 percent of Spanish negation!

2. Double negation is our daily bread

English doesn’t like double negation, but Spanish allows for it. You can get to know more about double negation in Spanish a few paragraphs below. In the meantime, here are some examples:

No corro nunca (literally, I don’t run never → I never run.)

Matthew no corre tampoco (literally, Matthew doesn’t run neither. → Matthew doesn’t run either.)

Ella no quiere a nadie (literally, She doesn’t love no one. → She doesn’t love anyone.)

3. We can start a sentence with a negative word 

There’s no need for making inversions or adding auxiliary verbs. You can always start a sentence with a negative word (even besides no), as long as it’s always preceding the verb.

Remember that you can’t use no if you’ve started the statement with another negative word!

Nunca bebo té. (Never do I drink tea.)

Nada me gusta. (Nothing do I like.)

Nada puedo hacer. (Nothing can I do.)

Main Spanish Negation Words

Every language has its ways of making negations. There are many negation words in Spanish, but for the sake of space and time, I’ll show you the most important ones.


Undoubtedly the most important negation word in any language, no is commonly used to negate the verb and you can use it to answer questions just by itself.

No bebo café por la tarde. (I don’t drink coffee in the afternoon.)

María no vendrá a la fiesta. (María is not coming to the party.)

¿Quieres ir de compras? ¡No, no quiero! (Do you want to go shopping? No, I don’t!)

In the last example, notice the use of no twice followed by the main verb. You can’t use an auxiliary verb as you do in English (e.g. don’t). Maybe that’s why we Spaniards prefer to say just no.


Nada means nothing/anything, and it’s also very common in Spanish negative sentences. Here are some examples:

No me apetece hacer nada hoy. (I don’t feel like doing anything today.)

Nada tiene sentido sin ti. (Nothing makes sense without you.)

Nada me gusta más que dar un paseo bajo la lluvia. (I don’t like anything more than going for a walk in the rain.)


It means no one/nobody, and it’s (obviously) used when talking about people!

No hay nadie aquí. Vámonos. (There’s nobody here. Let’s go.)

Mi hermana no invitó a nadie a su boda. (My sister didn’t invite anybody to her wedding.)

Nadie sabe más que tú. (Nobody knows more than you do.)


Meaning none/any/anyone, these negative words (except for ningún and ninguno) can function both as adjectives and as pronouns, depending on whether they’re followed by a noun or not, respectively.

Ningún and ninguno mean the same, but they’re used in different contexts. While ningún will always be followed by a masculine noun, ninguno will always be a pronoun and won’t have any accompanying nouns right after it.

Have a look at these sentences:

No me gusta ningún libro. (I don’t like any book.)

No me gusta ninguno. (I don’t like any [of them].)

Here you have some examples with the other three “siblings”:

Ninguna de estas pizzas tiene aceitunas. (None of these pizzas has olives.)

No tengo ningunos problemas. (I don’t have any problem.)

Ningunas noticias fueron buenas. (None of the news was good.)

Notice that ningunos, as shown in the second example, is less and less used in everyday Spanish. We normally use ningún plus a singular name in order to refer to a whole group. For example: No tengo ningún problema. )

Nunca / Jamás

Nunca and jamás mean never/never ever. They can be used interchangeably, but jamás seems to be a little more emphatic than nunca:

Nunca había visto a un chico tan guapo en mi vida. (I had never in my life seen such a handsome guy.)

Mis hermanos nunca ven la tele. (My brothers never watch TV.)

Jamás pensé que llegarías a ser presidente. ¡Estoy más orgulloso que nunca! (I would have never thought you would become president. I am prouder than ever!).

Jamás les des de comer a los elefantes. (Never feed the elephants. / Do not ever feed the elephants.)

If you want more emphasis you can even use them together in a sentence:

Nunca jamás dejaré de amarte. (I will never ever stop loving you.)

¡No me vuelvas a mentir nunca jamás! (Don’t lie to me ever again!)


Meaning neither…nor. Ni normally works in pairs, but you can also see the combinations no…ni…nino…ni and even one ni by itself.

No quiero nini café. Prefiero beber agua. (I want neither tea nor coffee. I prefer drinking water.)

Ni les gusta ni lo necesitan. (They neither like it nor need it.)

Abrió la puerta y no dijo ni una palabra. (He opened the door and didn’t say a word.)

¡Ni me toques! (Don’t even touch me! – Much stronger than ¡No me toques!


Tampoco means also not/not either/neither and even too, when too is needed in a negative context. It operates in opposition to también (too/as well) as its negative counterpart.

Don’t make the common mistake of saying también no instead of using tampoco!

No tengo ninguna prisa tampoco. (I am not in any hurry either.)

Tu ordenador no funciona. El mío tampoco. (Your computer doesn’t work. Neither does mine.)

¿Tampoco pudiste ir a la fiesta? (You couldn’t go to the party either?)

Yo tampoco tengo nada que decir. (I, too, have nothing to say.)

Notice that you can use no…ni together with tampoco in order to intensify the negation:

Mis vecinos no son amables ni tampoco serviciales. (My neighbors are neither nice nor helpful.)

Todavía no

It means not yet, but it works a little differently in Spanish. You can say todavía no or no…todavía, and you normally start a sentence with one word in this pair. Have a look:

Todavía no he terminado de escribir el ensayo. (I haven’t finished writing the essay yet.)

No hemos llegado a Barcelona todavía. (We haven’t arrived in Barcelona yet.)

¿Habéis leído el libro? ¡Todavía no! (Have you read the book? Not yet!)

Ya no

This last negative word means no longer/not anymore. It also appears in front of the verb (normally) and it can be separated and inverted (no…ya), although this option is much less common than ya no.

Ya no te quiero porque eres infiel. (I no longer love you because you are unfaithful.)

No podemos entregarlo ya. Es muy tarde. (We no longer can hand it in. It is too late.)

¿Todavía vives en Madrid? No, ya no. (Are you still living in Madrid? No, not anymore.)

All these words can function by themselves or keep each other company. In Spanish, it’s perfectly OK to make a double or triple negation, which we’ll get into next.

Double Negation in Spanish

Double negatives are very common in Spanish and completely acceptable! In fact, I would even venture to say that most of the time (except when we just use the negative word no) you’ll find a double negation in a negative sentence in Spanish.

There’s of course the option of using only one negative word at the beginning of the sentence and saving ourselves from having to use the word no, but this is a very marked option and we tend to avoid it unless it’s necessary.

There are even occasions in Spanish when the word no isn’t needed, and you can make your double negatives by using other negative words.

But in general, the rule for double negation is pretty simple: Use the word no in front of the verb, then later on in the sentence use a second negative word:

No como pasta nunca. (I never eat pasta.)

¿No te gusta tomar nada con el almuerzo? (Don’t you like to drink anything with lunch?)

No he visto a nadie desde que llegué. (I haven’t seen anyone since I arrived.)

As I mentioned before, you can have double negations without even having to use the word no. In this case, you’ll always have another negative word starting the sentence:

Nadie dice nada. (Nobody says anything.)

Ninguno de estos libros es para nadie. (None of these books is for anybody.)

Nunca vemos a nadie en esta zona. (We never see anyone in this area.)

Just remember these two very important things:

  • If you have no in front of a verb, other negative words will have to go after the verb:

No quiero nada. (I don’t want anything.) — not no nada quiero.

  • If you start a sentence with a negative word different from no, you’re no longer allowed to use no in that sentence!

Nadie sabe nada. (Nobody knows anything.) — not nadie no sabe nada.

Triple and Quadruple Negation

Oh, yes! Spanish even allows for triple negatives! Of course, sometimes you’ll have an easier way to express the same thought, but it’s good to understand how triple negation works. 

The rules for triple negation are exactly the same as for double negation:

No + verb + negation word + negation word, or

Negation word + (negation word) + (negation word) + verb + (negation word) + (negation word).

No bebemos nunca nada. (We never drink anything.)

Ellos tampoco beben nunca nada. (They never drink anything either.)

No quiero decirle nada a nadie. (I don’t want to say anything to anybody.)

You can even use a quadruple negation in certain contexts and situations.

This kind of “mega negative” sentence isn’t very common in Spanish, but you can be proud of your level of Spanish if you get to master the art of quadruple negation.

Ellos no necesitan nada de nadie nunca. (They never need anything from anybody.)

Nadie nunca va a ningún lugar tampoco. (Nobody ever goes anywhere either.)

Do you want to see a 5-negative-word sentence? 

Mi hermana no acepta nunca nada de nadie tampoco. (My sister never accepts anything from anybody ever either.)


Now that you’ve learned all the ways to use negation in Spanish, I encourage you to practice them throughout your day. 

Walk into an empty room and say “No hay nadie aquí” (There’s no one here). Or talk to your language partner about what you don’t like. 

With a bit of review and practice, you’ll become a master of negation. But don’t forget to be positive once in a while, too! 

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