How to express prohibition

These are some of the structures we commonly use to express prohibition:

  • Se + prohíbe/prohíben + infinitive/noun

Se prohíbe hablar con el conductor.

Talking to the driver is prohibited.

Se prohíben las fotografías con flash.

Flash photography is prohibited.

  • No se + permite/permiten or admite/admiten + infinitive/noun

No se permite comer en la tienda.

Eating in the store is not allowed.

No se permiten fiestas en las habitaciones.

No parties are allowed in the rooms.

No se admiten mascotas.

Pets are not allowed.

  • Está/Están + prohibido/a/os/as + infinitive/noun

Está prohibido fumar.

Smoking is prohibited.

Está prohibida la venta de alcohol a menores.

The sale of alcohol to minors is prohibited.

Están prohibidos los teléfonos móviles.

Cell phones are prohibited.

  • No está/están + permitido/a/os/as + infinitive/noun

No está permitido hablar en la biblioteca.

Talking is not allowed in the library.

No está permitida la venta ambulante.

Street vending is not allowed.

No están permitidas las reuniones sociales.   

Social gatherings are not allowed.   


  • We use prohíbe, permite and admite with infinitives and singular nouns, and prohíben, permiten and admiten with plural nouns. 
  • We use está prohibido and no está permitido with infinitives and singular, masculine nouns; está prohibida and no está permitida with singular, feminine nouns; están prohibidos/prohibidas and no están permitidos/permitidas with plural, masculine and feminine nouns, respectively.
  • Another way to express a prohibition is to use the negative imperative, which follows the structure no + verb in the present subjunctive.

No entre aquí entrar, imperativo negativo

Do not enter here.

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