Negative constructions with no

We construct negations in Spanish by putting no in front of the conjugated verb.

subjectnoconjugated verbparticipledirect objectindirect object
María no muestra el camino a sus amigos.Maria doesn’t show her friends the way.
María no ha mostrado el camino a sus amigos.Maria didn’t show her friends the way.

Pronoun as object

If we turn the objects into pronouns, the object-pronouns come before the verb and the order changes: indirect object comes before direct object.

Ella no me lo ha mostrado.She didn’t show me it.

To Note

No means not and no. That’s why we often use no twice in Spanish negations, once as no and once to negate the verb.

¿Has ido al médico? – No, no he ido al médico.Did you go to the doctor? – No, I didn’t go to the doctor.

No can also be a question particle at the end of a sentence (like the English isn’t…?/don’t…?/etc.).

Te llamas Pedro, ¿no?You’re named Pedro, aren’t you?

Multi-Part Negation

When we want to construct negative sentences in Spanish with nobody, nothing, never etc., we generally need no plus the corresponding word for nobody, nothing etc.

  • no ... (a) nadie (nobody/no one)
    No veo a nadie en la calle.I don’t see anyone on the street.
  • no ... nada (nothing)
    No hay nada más bonito.There’s nothing more beautiful.
  • no ... nunca/jamás (never)
    No voy a ir nunca a ese país.I’ll never go to that country.
  • no ... tampoco (neither)
    Yo no lo sé tampoco.I don’t know either.
  • no ... ningún (no/any/none)
    No conozco ningún buen dentista.I don’t know any good dentist.
  • no ... ni ... ni (neither ... nor)
    Eso no tiene ni pies ni cabeza.That’s rather far-fetched.
    literally: That has neither feet nor head.

But: We can put some of these words in front of the verb. In this case no is left off.

Yo no he ido nunca a Sudamérica.
→ Yo nunca he ido a Sudamérica. I’ve never been to South America.
Hoy no has hecho tampoco los deberes.
→ Hoy tampoco has hecho los deberes.Today you didn’t do your homework either.

To Note

No…/none is either translated with no in Spanish, or else we add ningún/ninguna/ningunos/ningunas in order to construct a stronger negation.

Desgraciadamente, Pablo no tiene amigos.Unfortunately Pablo has no friends.
Desgraciadamente, Pablo no tiene ningún amigo.Unfortunately Pablo doesn’t have any friends/doesn’t have a single friend.

Opposites of Certain Words

When constructing negation we have to use the opposite of certain words:

→ nadie
→ no one
Alguien podrá ayudarte con los deberes.Someone will be able to help you with the homework.
Nadie podrá ayudarte con los deberes.No one will be able to help you with the homework
→ ningún
→ no
Seguro que tengo algún bolígrafo para prestarte.Surely I have some pen I can lend you.
→ Seguro que no tengo ningún bolígrafo para prestarte.I’m sure I don’t have a pen to lend you.
→ (no)…nada
→ anything
Amparo me ha contado algo interesante.Amparo told me something interesting.
→ Amparo no me ha contado nada interesante.Amaparo didn’t tell me anything interesting.
→ nunca/jamás
→ never
Siempre voy de vacaciones a España.I always go to Spain on holiday.
Nunca/Jamás voy de vacaciones a España.I never go to Spain on holiday.
→ tampoco
→ either/neither
Yo también escucho la radio a diario.I also listen to the radio everyday.
→ Yo tampoco escucho la radio a diario.I don’t listen to the radio everday either.
→ ya no
→ no longer
El auditorio está todavía/aún lleno.The auditorium is still full.
→ El auditorio ya no está lleno.The auditorium is no longer full.
→ nada
→ nothing
Aquí está todo bajo control.Everything is under control here.
→ Aquí no está nada bajo control.Nothing is under control here.
→ nadie
→ no one
Todos han llegado puntuales.Everyone arrived punctually.
Nadie ha llegado puntual.No one arrived punctually.
→ no/ningún
→ no
El bar tiene una salida de emergencia.The bar has an emergency exit.
→ El bar no tiene ninguna salida de emergencia.There is no emergency exit in the bar.