Double negatives

Certain words can be used either as part of double negative structures or on their own.

Nessuno è arrivato / Non è arrivato nessuno.

Nobody arrived.

Nessun cliente è arrivato / Non è arrivato nessun cliente. 

Not a single client arrived.

Nessuno (nobody), nessun/a (no, not one), neanche (either), nemmeno (either), neppure (not even) and niente (nothing) can be used on their own before the verb:

Niente è come prima.

Nothing is as it was before.

Nessuno ha visto Michele.

Nobody has seen Michele.

Nemmeno sapevo che fossi qui.

I did not even know you were here.

The same words can also be used in the following double negative structures:

  • non + verb + nessun/nessuno/nessuna + noun

Non leggo nessun libro.

I do not read any books.

Non ho parlato con nessuno psicologo.

I did not speak to any psychologist.

Non ho nessuna moneta.

I don't have any change.

  • non + verb + nessuno

Non ho visto nessuno ieri.

I didn't see anyone yesterday.

  • non + verb + niente

Non ho mangiato niente.

I haven't eaten anything.

  • non + verb + neanche/neppure/nemmeno + un/una + noun

Non ho neanche una moneta.

I don't have a single coin.

  • non + verb + neanche/neppure/nemmeno

Non pranzo neanche

I don't even have lunch.

Non ho neanche bevuto. 

I didn't even drink.


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