Even when I am a positive person, I think you do need to say “no” so since it is quite a very used word, I think you might want to learn some different ways to say “no” in Spanish
Let’s start with the basic, as a warm up
1-No, it can be use in every situation, and if we want to emphasise we can say it several times, “no, no, no…”-as many as we want.
Like when you are at a friends house and they ask you if you want something to eat, in Spain is common to deny twice, imagine your friend made a cake the week and she wants you to try but the cake does not look that good…
Friend-Hice un pastel el sábado , y todavía queda, ¿quieres probarlo? –“I made a cake on Saturday and there is some left, do you want to try?
You-No, no, gracias pero no tengo hambre-“no, no, thanks but I am not hungry”
It is quite a strong way to say no, but in an informal way and always have a nice note, picture you are in a room with more people and it is quite room
You-¿Os importa si abro la ventana? Hace bastante calor aquí…-Would you mind if I open the window?It is quite warm in here…
People-¡Qué va! Adelante, abréla-“Not at all, go ahead, open it!”
#note-sometimes we can use a variation, “para nada”, it means the same and it has a colloquial and nice tone too
3- ¡No, hombre!
It is a strong negation friendly negation, I mean….if you are meeting all your friends and talking with one by phone and he says he is not going to the dinner because he has not money you probably say
-¡No, hombre no! ¡Cómo no vas a ir a la cena! ¡Te invito yo! –“no, man!How you are not going to go to the dinner!I treat you!”-Spaniards are that generous
It is a straight negation and quite abrupt if there is not relationship.
Your friend- Hace un día precioso-“It is a beautiful day”
You-¡Qué dices! ¡Si no ha parado de llover!-“What are you talking about?It has not stopped raining!”
It is a familiar way of denial and with an authoritarian note, it is quite common to hear from mums…Imagine when you were younger and you wanted to drive by yourself
You-Mamá , ¿puedo usar el coche?-“Mum, can I use the car?”
Your mum-¡Ni hablar!-“No way”
6-¡Ni se te ocurra!
It is an informal way of denial and a bit authoritarian as well,
We all have been naughty at some point and have some naughty ideas, maybe when we are talking to friends and we are thinking about how to something you come up with no the “legal” or “normal” way to do things that is when your friend, that thinks you are able to do anything will stop you by saying
Sé lo que estás pensando, ¡ni se te ocurra!-“I know what you are thinking about, do not even think about it!
#note-sometimes we can us “ni lo pienses” as a variant of this one, it means exactky the same.
7- ¡ Ni lo sueñes!
When there is no way something is going to happen, it is really informal.
Imagine you just move in into your first flat and your friends are party animals, they probably want to have a super party at yours to celebrate, and they probably want to go a bit far…
Your friends-!Qué bien! !ya tienes las llaves de tu nuevo piso!¿Cuándo la fiesta para celebrarlo?¿Podemos invitar a todos nuestros amigos del colegio, contratar un Dj, podría durar varios días….-“Amazing!You have the keys for your new flat already!When is the party? We could invite friends from school, pay a DJ, it might go on for days…”
You-¡Ni lo sueñes!Podemos tener una celebración pequeña, pero nada de Dj, y fiestas que duren días-“Do not even think about it!We can have a small party, but nothing of Dj and parties who last for days…”
8-¡Ni harto vino!
Probably the most informal one, and the same as the above used when there is no way something is going to happen.
If your friends want to have a weekend out and do something “crazy” as bungee jumping (I think I always use bungee jumping as a “crazy example”, but for me it is…something pretty scary)
You-Vosotros haced lo que queráis, per yo ¡ni borracho!-“you can do whatever you want, but no way I do it”
Or you might want to use both number 7 and number 8 to make even clearer that is not going to happen
You-¡Ni lo sueñes! ¡Ni harto vino hago puenting!-“No way!There is no chance I do bungee jumping”
#note–we can use “ni borracho” instead with the same meaning
9-¡Por encima de mi cadaver! Or ¡ ni muerto!
Used when the other chance for something to happen is over your dead body J
If again when you were a teenager you had a favourite trainers, and even when they were falling apart you loved them but your mother kept telling you she was going to throw them away,
You-¡Me encantan estas zapatillas!La única manera de que las tires es por encima de mi cadaver –I love this trainers! The only way you would throw them is over my dead body”
Another version could be- no las voy a tirar ni mierto-“ I am not going to throw them, even when I am dead”
10-¡ Ni en pintura!
Funny sentences, it is usually used when we do not want to see someone because we can’t stand them, sometimes does not need to be that hard, it maybe used because you have had an small argument with a friend and you are still a bit annoyed to him so you do not want to see him yet,
Someone you can’t stand-you are talking with a friend about your boss
-No quiero ir a trabajar mañana, no soporto a mi nueva jefa, no la quiero ver ni en pintura –“I do not want to go tomorrow, I can’t stand my new boos, I don’t want to see her, not even on a picture.”
Someone you had an argument with
-El otro día discuti con Javier, y no al momento no quiero verle ni en pintura, es muy cabezón-“The other day I had an argument with Javier and at the moment I do not want to see him, he is so stubborn.”
11-¡De ninguna manera!
Imagine you are still mad at Javier (example above) because of your argument the other week, if he is having a party and if you “no quieres ver a Javier ni en pintura” probably you will say
De ninguna manera voy a ir a la fiesta de Javier, todavia estoy enfadada,-No way I am going to Javier’s party, I am still mad at him”
12-¡Ni de coña!
It is pretty much slang and really common among young people, it might sound angry, but it does not necessary have to be, indeed most of the time, it is just a strong negation in a friendly way.
If your friend is talking about doing something you could do during the weekend, but you are not really up for that.
Friend-He escuchado que hay un festival de música country este fin de semana, podemos ir para haver algo diferente…-“I hear there is a country festival this weekend, we can go just to do something different…”
You-¡Ni de coña!No me gusta nada ese tipo de música..-“No chance, I do not like that kind of music at all”
#note- “ni de broma” does the same job
13-¡De eso nada!
It is quite a firm negation, and it usually comes from mums too. Like when you wanted to have a sleep over at a friends place so you could stay out until late but your mother knew the trick, when you asked
You-Mamá, ¿puedo quedarme en casa de María este fin de semana? –“Mum, can I stay at Maria’s this weekend?
Mother-¡De eso nada! Ya sé que sus padres no están en casa este fin de semana-“No way!I know her parents are not at home this weekend”
#note-to add a friendly way, sometimes we say “de eso nada monada”-still means a no tho. 🙂
And that is your denials cheat sheet, make a note on your Spanish notebook and start using day, they will surprise people.
#importantnote-Keep in mind that there is not much difference among them all except for the formal and the informal ones all them can be interchangeable.
Forget about the “no” for a few days and give these negations a go!Everytime you want to say no in Spanish try to use one of the denials above, write a couple on your phone and have a look to them a few times a day.
Now it is your turn
As always I would love to hear from you
-Have you hear them before?
-Do you know any other way of saying “no”?
-Which is the one you can’t wait to use?
I am so looking forward to reading you, and remember to share this blog with your friends, they might find it useful and you could practice together.
I let you go now, have a great day.