Las palabras indefinidas y negativas


  • 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.

For example:
Play Audio¿Alguien tiene un MP3? (Does anyone have an MP3 player?)
Play AudioNadie tiene un MP3. (No one has an MP3 player.)

Play AudioPalabras indefinidas Play AudioPalabras negativas
Play AudioAlguien (Someone/Somebody/Anyone) Play AudioNadie (No one/Nobody)
Play AudioAlgo (Something) Play AudioNada (Nothing)
Play AudioSiempre (Always) Play AudioNunca (Never)

Play AudioJamás (Never)

Play AudioTambién (Also) Play AudioTampoco (Neither/Either)
Play AudioAlgún Play Audio(alguno), Alguna, Algunos, Algunas (Some) Play AudioNingún Play Audio(ninguno), Ninguna, Ningunos, Ningunas (None/Any)
O…o (Either… or) Play AudioNi…ni (Neither…nor)

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.)

Double negatives

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.

  • Play AudioNo 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.)
  • Play AudioNo 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.

  • Play AudioNadie compra cosas en una tienda hoy en día. (No one buys things in a store these days.)
  • Play AudioNunca compro ropa en la tienda. (I never buy clothes in the store.)
  • Play AudioNada 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.

  • Play AudioNo, no tengo ningún libro en mi Kindle. / Play AudioNo, no tengo ninguno. (No, I don’t have any books in my Kindle. / No, I don’t have any.)