The structure of negative sentences

We use nadie (no-one), ninguno/a (none) and nada (nothing) as a simple or double negative, depending on their function:

  • A simple negative is when these words go before the verb and act as its subject. In this case, the verb is always in the 3rd person singular.

Nadie vino a la fiesta.

Nobody came to the party.

Ninguna quiere hablar conmigo.

None of them want to talk to me.

Nada es lo que parece.

Nothing is what it seems.

  • (Subject) + no + nadie, ninguno/a, nada when there is another subject in the sentence.

No he visto a nadie.

I haven't seen anyone.

Andrea no conoce a ninguna persona.

Andrea doesn't know anyone.

No hay ningún niño en el parque.

There isn't any child in the park.

¿Tú no desayunas nada?

You don't eat any breakfast at all?

The words nunca (never), jamás (ever) and tampoco (neither) do not act as the subject of the verb and can be used as either simple or double negatives. A double negative with no adds emphasis.

Nunca he ido a Quito. → No he ido nunca a Quito.

I have never been to Quito. → I have never, ever been to Quito.

Jamás cantaron en público. No cantaron jamás en público.

They never sang in public. → They never, ever sang in public.

tampoco tienes dinero. → Tú no tienes dinero tampoco.

You do not have any money either. → Nor do you have any money either.

Ni siquiera hay un plato que me guste. → No hay ni siquiera un plato que me guste.

There is not even a dish that I like There is not even one single dish that I like.

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