A1 Level. Spanish negative sentences

Updated: May 1, 2020

Spanish negative sentences

Spanish negative sentences are really easy to create. In most cases, you simply have to put a “no” in front of whatever verb or verb phrase you want to negate. The adverb no in Spanish is used similarly to the adverb not in English for sentence negation. In Spanish, the no is inserted directly before the conjugated verb. For example, the following sentence pairs are examples of positive and negated Spanish sentences containing the adverb no:

Hablo alemán "I speak German"(positive)

No hablo alemán. "I don’t speak German." (negated)

Vamos de vacaciones. "We're going on vacation".(positive)

No vamos de vacaciones. "We don’t go on holidays." (negated)

Los niños pueden leer el libro. "The children can read the book." (positive)

Los niños no pueden leer el libro. "The children cannot read the book." (negated)

More negative words

1. To provide additional information, you can use negative words. Negative words can be adjectives, pronouns, or adverbs.

No hay nadie en casa. "There is nobody at home".

No quiero ni carne ni pescado. "I want neither meat nor fish"

Carmen tampoco quiere carne. "Carmen neither wants meat" Notice that Spanish negative sentences may have two (or more) negative words. It is both common and expected to have a double negative in Spanish. It is also correct to respond with “no” twice as one answers the “yes/no” question and the second one negates the sentence.

2. “No” is not always necessary. You can also use a negative word in place of “no” or use a negative word alone in certain circumstances. In Spanish, there are other words besides the adverb no that serve to deny elements of the sentence: nadie, nada, nunca, etc. When these words appear after the verb, it is still necessary to use the adverb no. For this reason, it is considered that in Spanish the negation is double.

Negation with "Nunca"

Me lavo siempre las manos. "I always wash my hands." (positive)

Nunca me lavo las manos. "I never wash my hands." (negated)