Other negative phrases

There are a number of negative expressions that work with no:

  • nada (nothing)
  • nadie (nobody, no one)
  • ninguno/a/os/as (no, none, not one, not any)
  • tampoco (neither, not either)
  • ni ... ni (neither ... nor)

These negative words can be used in two different ways:

1. Place no in front of the verb and the negative word after it. For example:

  • No hay nadie en la fiesta (There's no one at the party).
  • María no trabaja nunca los sábados (María never works on Saturdays).
  • No quiero ni fruta ni verduras (I don't want either fruit or vegetables).
  • No hay ningunos problemas (There are no problems).

2. Place the negative word in front of the verb and drop the no. For example:

  • Nadie fue a la fiesta (Nobody went to the party).
  • Nada va a pasar (Nothing is going to happen).
  • Tampoco tengo un hermano (I don't have a brother either).
  • Nunca hago ejercicio (I never do exercise).
Note that ninguno changes to agree with the noun it is describing, eg no tengo ninguna idea (I have no idea). The form ningún is used in front of a masculine singular noun, eg no he leído ningún artículo (I haven't read a single article) but reverts to ninguno when it's used on its own to refer to a masculine singular noun, eg no he leído ninguno (I haven't read anything) or when it is used before the verb, eg ninguno de mis amigos está aquí (None of my friends are here).

Jamás is a more forceful way of saying never, eg jamás lo haré (I will never ever do it).


Pero means but in Spanish, but it isn't the only word that is used.

Sino is used to mean but rather or but on the other hand (ie instead), eg no voy al restaurante, sino ceno en casa (I'm not going to the restaurant, instead I'm having dinner at home).

Sino is often seen in the structure no sólo ... sino también ... (not only ... but also ...), eg No sólo es muy elegante, sino también es caro (It's not only stylish but also expensive).

Sometimes in English but is used to mean except. For example: No one but Nadia remained in the room. This isn't the case in Spanish, as menos/excepto/salvo are used to mean except, eg todos tenían sed excepto Nuria (everyone was thirsty except Nuria).


Translate these negative sentences into English.

  1. Nadie vino al club.
  2. Mi hermana no come nunca la carne.
  3. La comida basura no sólo es malsana, sino también es grasienta.
  4. Los niños no comen ni pizza ni pasta.
  5. Todavía no he visitado el castillo.
  6. No hay ningún tipo de comida que me gusta.
  7. No tengo nada en mi maleta.
  8. No voy a hacer nada durante las vacaciones
  1. Nobody came to the club.
  2. My sister never eats meat.
  3. Fast food is not only unhealthy, it's also greasy.
  4. The children eat neither pizza nor pasta.
  5. I haven't visited the castle yet.
  6. There is no type of food that I like.
  7. I don't have anything in my suitcase.
  8. I am not going to do anything during the holidays.
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