Double Negatives

March 26, 2014

In Spanish, in many cases, use of double negatives is required. Even triple negatives are possible.

Some negative terms can be used before the verb or after the verb. Some of the most common ones are:

 

NUNCA (never)

TAMPOCO (note ven, neither, nor)

JAMÁS (never,never ever)

NI-NI SIQUIERA (not even)

NADIE (nobody)

APENAS (barely, hardly)

NINGÚN-NINGUNO/A (none,no)

 

When you use them after the verb it’s necessary to add the word “no” before the verb.

 

BEFORE VERB:

 

Nunca he estado en China. I’ve never been to China.

Nunca he visto un león. I’ve never seen a lion.

 

Jamás trabajo los domingos. I never work on Sundays.

Jamás fumamos.  We never smoke.

 

Nadie sabe dónde vivo. Nobody knows where I live.

Nadie quiere venir a mi fiesta.  Nobody wants to come to my party.

 

Ninguno de mis amigos tiene barco. Any of my friends has a boat.

Ningún estudiante aprobó el exámen. No student passed the exam.

 

Tampoco quiero café. I don’t want a coffee either.

Tampoco ví a María. I didn’t see María either.

 

Ni siquiera sé tu nombre. I don’t even know your name.

Ni mi tía ni mi prima vendrán. Neither my aunt nor my cousin will come.

 

Apenas bebes agua. You barely drink water.

Apenas estudia. He barely studies.

 

 

AFTER VERB:

 

No he estado nunca en China. I’ve never been to China.

No he visto nunca un león. I’ve never seen a lion.

 

No trabajo jamás los domingos. I never work on Sundays.

No fumamos jamás. We never smoke.

 

No sabe nadie dónde vivo. Nobody knows where I live.

No quiere nadie venir a mi fiesta. Nobody wants to come to my party.

 

No tiene barco ninguno de mis amigos. Any of my friends has a boat.

No aprobó el exámen ningún estudiante. No student passed the exam.

 

No quiero café tampoco. I don’t want a coffee either.

No ví a María tampoco. I didn’t see María either.

 

No sé ni siquiera tu nombre. I don’t even know your name.

Ni mi tía ni mi prima vendrán. Neither my aunt nor my cousin will come.

 

No bebes apenas agua. You barely drink water.

No estudia apenas. He barely studies.

 

* Sometimes it’s possible to have three negative words (even four) in the same sentence:

Nunca le compra nada a nadie. She never buys anything for anybody.

Mi madre no compra nada nunca. My mother never buys anything.

Mi padre no compra nada tampoco. My father doesn’t buy anything either.

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