- Properly use indefinite and negative expressions
Below are the most common indefinite and the corresponding negative words in Spanish. In the case of questions and answers, if an indefinite word from the left column is used in a question, then when the response is negative you use the negative word on the right in your answer.
As we learned in Unidad 1 with yes/no questions, the word “no” precedes the verb.
—¿Tienes un portátil? (Do you have a laptop?)
—No, no tengo un portátil (No, I don’t have a laptop.)
Unlike English, it is not only possible to make double negatives in Spanish, but when a negative word is used after the verb, you must also place “no” or another negative word in front of the verb.
- No tienes ni libro de texto ni libro electrónico de SPAN 102 para estudiar. (You have neither a textbook nor eBook of SPAN 102 to study.)
- No juego videojuegos tampoco. (I don’t play videogames either.)
“Nadie”, “nunca”, and “tampoco” can be placed directly before the verb to act as subjects. When acting as a subject, “nada” can also be placed before the verb.
- Nadie compra cosas en una tienda hoy en día. (No one buys things in a store these days.)
- Nunca compro ropa en la tienda. (I never buy clothes in the store.)
- Nada es fácil. (Nothing is easy.)
The indefinite words “algún”, “alguno(s)”, “alguna(s)”, and the negative words “ningún”, “ninguno(s)”, “ninguna(s)” must agree in number and gender with the noun they refer to. Also, you can use “ninguna” or “ninguno” by themselves rather than repeating the direct object of the sentence. When using the negative, the singular form is generally used.