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Negation - How to build negative sentences in Spanish.


Negation: How to build negative sentences in Spanish.
Now that you know the basics on affirmative sentences, let's go farther. Spanish negative sentences are not difficult to learn; there are just some rules we must follow.

  1. To form negative sentences, just place no before the verb.

    Affirmative: Yo tengo dos hermanos. (I have two brothers)
    Negative: Yo no tengo dos hermanos. (I don't have two brothers)


  2. If the verb is preceded by an object, no will be placed before that object:
    Yo no lo he visto (I haven't seen it)
    (where "he visto" is the verb and "lo" works as an object)
    Nosotros no lo tenemos (We haven't got it)


  3. If the answer to a question is negative, no will appear twice:
    ¿Es Ud. De Madrid?
    No, no soy de Madrid.


  4. Other negatives words can also be used to express negation. These words are also placed before the verb:

    Nadie (Nobody)
    Nadie bebe aquí. (Nobody drinks here)

    Nada (Nothing)
    Nada ocurre en esta ciudad. (Nothing happens in this city)

    Nunca (Never)
    Tu nunca dices la verdad (You never say the truth)

    Ninguno (None)
    Ninguno de mis amigos está aquí (None of my friends is here)

    Tampoco (Neither)
    Tampoco tenemos tiempo. (We haven't got time either)


  5. Double negatives are accepted in Spanish.
    In English, sentences with two or more negative words are not accepted. For example:
    I am not eating nothing.

    Some people could tell us that, in English, the use of two or more negative words becomes an affirmation. In fact, the example above could be understood as an affirmation:

    I am not eating nothing = I am eating something.

    But this doesn't happen in Spanish. On the contrary, Spanish language uses one or more negative words, and the negative sentence will keep on being negative.
    So, is there any negative word, apart from no? Yes, together with the negative words listed on point 4, there are other ones like:

    Jamás = Nunca (Never)
    Ni siguiera (Not even)
    Apenas (Hardly)

    Talking about double negation, note that we can use any negative word with the word "no". (This is very common in Spanish). Let's see some examples:

    Mi hijo no come nada (My son eats nothing or My son doesn't eat anything)
    Yo no conozco a nadie (I don't know anybody or I know nobody)
    Tu no vas jamás al cine (You never go to the cinema)
    Yo noni siquiera cómo te llamas (I don't even know what's your name)


  6. As I always say, Spanish is just a question of practice, so, although you may find it difficult at the beginning, read it once, twice,... try to make some exercises, and of course, you can always ask me any question, by e-mail or post a message at the bulletin board.

    Have a nice week!




    VOCABULARY IN THIS LESSON (alphabetical order):

    amigos : friends
    apenas : hardly
    aquí : here
    bebe : he/she drinks. (Beber = To drink)
    ciudad : city, town
    come : he/she eats (Comer = To eat)
    cómo te llamas : what's your name (Infinitive: Llamarse)
    de : of, from
    dices : you say (Decir = To say)
    dos : two
    ¿Es Ud. ...? : Are you...? (Ser = To be)
    esta : this (with feminine nouns)
    está : it / he / she is (Estar = To be)
    he visto : I have seen (Haber = To have // Ver = To see)
    hermanos : brothers
    hijo : son
    jamás : never
    lo : it
    mi : my
    nada : nothing
    nadie : nobody
    ni siguiera : not even
    ninguno : none
    nosotros : we
    nunca : never
    ocurre : it happens (Ocurrir = To happen)
    soy : I am (Ser = To be)
    tampoco : neither
    tenemos : we have (Tener = To have)
    tengo : I have (Tener = To have)
    tiempo : time, weather
    tu no vas : You don't go (Ir = To go)
    verdad : truth
    yo : I
    Yo no sé : I don't know (Saber = To know)


    Recommended material:
    You can find below some materials / web pages that, from my point of view, can be useful and interesting:

    Visual Link Spanish Visual Link Spanish™ - Just click, listen and repeat! Don't just learn Spanish; put it into practice with a unique guided, step-by-step system. I've tested it and I wish I'd had something similar when I studied English!!

    Think Spanish Magazine I write monthly articles for 'Think Spanish' ('Piensa en español') about Spain, its culture, travel issues... But this magazine also covers all Latin American countries. Articles include a glossary. You can also listen to all the articles as they also publish a monthly CD.

    Puerta del Sol - Audio Magazine A very interesting way of learning or reviewing not just Spanish grammar and vocabulary, but also a great way to find out about Spain and its culture.

    Lo más TV Such a funny, intelligent and useful way to learn and enjoy the Spanish language!! It is a web based activity and offers new videos, on a weekly basis, with Spanish / English captions, dictionary and games.

    Angeles' Blog: "Spanish Word of the Day" I'm adding a new Spanish word, everyday, including its sound file, translation, uses and descriptions. You can send your messages with questions, examples to be reviewed, etc.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Angeles Fernández. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Angeles Fernández. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Angeles Fernández for details.

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