How to make a sentence negative in Spanish

How to make a sentence negative in Spanish

Updated May 19, 2023

One of the differences between English and Spanish negative sentences is that in Spanish, the  negative is formed by placing  the word “no” before the verb, it doesn’t need any other helping auxiliary verbs to make a sentence negative unlike English does. In addition, we will explore other ways to show the negative in Spanish later.

The use of “no”

The most common way to create a negative sentence is to make an affirmative sentence and then place “no” in front of the verb. Consider these  examples, as shown below:

“Mario habla español.”           “Mario no habla español.”

Mario  speaks Spanish.          Mario doesn’t speak Spanish.

“Nosotros jugamos fútbol.”     “Nosotros no jugamos fútbol.”

We play football.                      We don’t play football.

Negative responses

When Spanish speakers react negatively to a question, they not only say “no”, but they can also use the following negative replies:

 “¿Servimos la cena?” – Shall we serve dinner?    “Todavía no.”         – Not yet.        

 “No me gusta el pescado.” – I don’t like fish.         “A mí tampoco.”   – Me neither.  

“¿Vienes mañana?” – Will  you come tomorrow?   “Creo que no.”       – I don’t think so.      

“¿Podemos hablar?” – Can we talk?                       “Ahora no.”            – Not now.

Double negative

The easiest way to make a sentence negative is to put “no” in front of the verb. However, there are also other words like: “nunca” (never), “nadie” ( nobody) or else “nada” (nothing), which can be used to emphasize the negative. Take the following sentences:

“No hay nadie en la fiesta.” – There is nobody in the party.

“Susana no trabaja nunca los sábados.” – Susan never works on Saturdays.

“Peter no come nada en las noches.” – Peter doesn’t eat anything in the evenings.

To sum up, it is characteristic of the Spanish “double negatives”. Although it might sound funny and illogical at times, keep in mind that the double negative is used to give emphasis.

Now, you are able to build up negative statements to describe a situation and also to react negatively  to a question. At Bright Lingua you can expand your knowledge of Spanish with the most meaningful lessons that have been personalized to satisfy your needs to develop communicative skills in Spanish.

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