How To Say 'No' In Spanish (Formal And Informal)
- Jada LòpezSpanish teacher, translator🎓 B.A., Translation and Interpreting English and Spanish, Universidad de Granada🎓 M.A., Formación de Profesores de Español como Lengua Extranjera (ELE), Universidad Pablo de Olavide
Passionate language teacher and translator. Wife, mother of 3 and amateur surfer.
You can’t get far in Spanish without being able to say “no”.
It’s an essential word in Spanish.
Whether you’re telling the cashier that a receipt is not necessary or responding to a complex grammatical Spanish question, (and telling the profesora that you don’t know the answer) the word “no” will most likely feature somewhere in your answer!
Knowing how to say “no” in Spanish is crucial, even if you’re just a tourist in a Spanish speaking country.
Are you ready to learn how to say “no” in Spanish? Read on.
How do we say “no” in Spanish?
‘No’ in Spanish is no.
The Spanish word “no” is a cognate.
This means it’s linguistically derived from the same origin as the English word “no”, so it might not come as a surprise that the word “no” in Spanish is also “no”.
How do we pronounce the word “no” in Spanish?
In Spanish, we pronounce the word “no” in a shorter, sharper style when compared with the English version.
Whereas in English, we tend to elongate the pronunciation, it is pronounced “noh” in Spanish.
It has a short vowel sound which can be likened to the word “cot”.
Using “no” for negation
The reason why “no” is such a commonly used word in Spanish is partly because it is used in negation.
To put this another way, if you wanted to turn a statement into the negative form, stick a “no” in front of it.
For example, if someone asks you if you can swim, you might respond by saying:
No puedo nadar.
If someone asks you whether you like to ride bikes and you never learned how, you might respond with a negated statement:
No sé andar en bicicleta.
Or if you don’t know what to eat for lunch tomorrow, you might say:
No sé qué comida debo comer mañana.
What are some common phrases in Spanish that feature the word “no?”
There are so many common phrases in Spanish that feature the word “no”.
You might find yourself using some of the examples that feature in the table below:
|No gracias||No thanks|
|No pasa nada||No problem|
|No entiendo||I don’t understand|
|Por supuesto que no||Of course not|
|Claro que no||Clearly not|
|No me digas||Don’t even tell me that!|
What are some colloquial ways to say “no” in Spanish?
In some situations, you might require a colloquial or slang phrase to say “no” in Spanish.
We’ve got the facts that you need for this as well!
Some of the most colloquial ways to say “no” in Spanish are listed below in the table.
|Ni de broma||No kidding|
|¡Qué va!||No way|
|Ni hablar||Don’t even talk about it|
|Nada de eso||None of that|
Examples of colloquial ways to say “no” in Spanish
If you’re unsure how to use the colloquial phrases for “no” in Spanish, here are examples of each of these being used in sentences:
1. Ni de broma
English meaning: no kidding
¿Me puedes llevarme hasta la fiesta en Madrid?
Ni de broma, tengo que estudiar.
2. ¡Qué va!
English meaning: no way
¿Tu equipo de fútbol favorito es el Real Madrid?
¡Qué va! A mí me gusta el Barça.
3. Ni hablar
English meaning: don’t speak
¿Te gustan las arañas?
Ni hablar. ¡Tengo muchísimo miedo de las arañas!
4. Nada de eso
English meaning: none of that
¡Quiero un helado! ¿Me compras dos helados?
Nada de eso. Los helados tienen demasiado azúcar.
English meaning: nope
¿Tienes dinero para salir esta noche?
Nop. No tengo ni un centavo.
What are some formal ways to say “no” in Spanish?
In other circumstances, you might need a formal and polite way to decline something or say “no” in Spanish.
If that’s what you’ve looking for, take a quick look at the table just below to see some examples:
|En absoluto||Absolutely not|
|De ninguna manera||No way|
|Baja ninguna circunstancia||Under no circumstances|
Examples of formal ways to say “no” in Spanish
Now take a look at some examples of some sentences that feature the formal ways to say “no” in Spanish listed just below.
1. En absoluto
English meaning: absolutely not
¿Estás siempre tan desorganizada?
En absoluto. Intento mantener las cosas en orden, siempre.
2. De ninguna manera
English meaning: no way
¿Vas a la reunión con los compañeros del trabajo?
De ninguna manera. No es obligatorio.
3. Bajo ninguna circunstancia
English meaning: under no circumstances
Bajo ninguna circunstancia debes perderte la reunión.
No quería perderla. Quería hablar de algunas cosas.
Start learning the Spanish for “no” by speaking and listening
If you’re now wondering how you can best learn how to say “no” in Spanish, flashcards are a great help.
Begin by jotting down the Spanish word or phrase for “no” and then write the English literal translation on the other side to jog your memory.
The more you practice with your flashcards, the faster you’ll learn these phrases.
Follow this up with some real-life practice. Because, since this is an essential Spanish word, practice saying “no” in different ways to native Spanish speakers can help you learn and enhance your level of fluency.
Next up: See our guide on how to say yes in Spanish.
Are there any tips you’d add to help others learn how to say “no” in Spanish?
Write down your contribution and share it with us in the comments below!
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