One of the first and most important things to learn in any language is how to say “No”. But as you progress, you might want to learn new vocabulary and ways to say it, to sound more like a native instead of always relying on the standard textbook way.
Therefore, today we will talk about other ways to say “No” in Spanish. So, don’t be negative and keep watching because at the end I will give you great negative expressions! ¿Te lo quieres perder? ¡Por supuesto que no! (Do you want to miss it? Of course not!) Now, let’s start saying “no” like a pro.
Saying “no” informally
Just like English, there are many ways to say “no” in Spanish and it would be boring to just answer “no” in any context all the time.
Of course the same “no” you use when your boss asks if you can come on a Sunday is not the same “no” you use when your sister is asking to borrow money for the tenth time this month, right? So, let’s start with some informal expressions going from the most casual to the most imperative ones:
- No, gracias. (No, thank you!)
This works as a usually informal way to say “no” politely and it is normally used when someone offers something and you don’t want it.
- ¿Quieres más agua? (Do you want more water?)
- No, gracias. (No, thank you.)
- No, ¡qué va! (No way!)
This is a way to really stress your negative take towards something:
- ¿Te gusta el hígado encebollado? (Do you like liver with onions?)
- No, ¡qué va! Prefiero el pollo. (No way! I’d rather have chicken.)
- Nunca / Jamás (Never / ever)
If you really want to make your point, this might be the one to use:
- ¿Quieres ir a lanzarte en bungee? (Do you want to go bungee jumping?)
- No, ¡nunca! Le tengo miedo a las alturas. (No, never! I’m afraid of heights.)
Here are other very strong ways to say no:
- Oye, Juan, ¿me prestas tu auto? (Hey Juan, can I borrow your car?)
- Ni hablar. (Literally: don’t even talk about it!)
- Hay algo de cambio en la mesa. ¿Puedo tomarlo? (There’s some spare change on the table. Can I take it?)
- Ni se te ocurra. (Don’t even think about it!)
- Voy a coquetearle a esa policía (I’m gonna hit on that policewoman)
- Ni lo sueñes. (Don’t even dream about it)
Saying “no” without actually saying it
Of course, you can also say “no” without actually stating it, so let’s see some other chunks para decir “no” sin decir “no” (to say “no” without saying “no”).
- ¡Ya para! / ¡Ya detente! (Stop it already!)
- ¡Vete de aquí! (Go away!)
- ¡Déjame en paz! (Leave me alone!)
- ¡Tomatelá! ―This is an informal expression used in Argentina to say “screw you”
- ¡Ya, wey! ―In Mexico they use this to say “stop it, dude!”, or like poor Edgar says:
As in English, in Spanish we also use negative expressions to convey surprise or incredulity. Let’s see some examples:
- No, ¿en serio? (No, seriously?)
Use this one when you are surprised about someone doing or asking something.
- ¿Ya te suscribiste a Spring Spanish? No, ¿en serio? (Have you subscribed to Spring Spanish yet? No, seriously?)
- ¡No puede ser! (It can’t be!)
Use it when you think something is unbelievable.
- Bruce Willis siempre estuvo muerto. (Bruce Willis was dead all along)
- ¡No puede ser! (It can’t be!)
Yep, you know what movie I’m talking about.
- Mentira que _____ (No way that _____)
This also expresses not believing something the other person did. This would be a little trickier than the others, since you’d have to combine the chunk with the action that you don’t believe. Let’s see:
- Mentira que le coqueteaste a la policía. (No way you actually hit on that policewoman.)
- Mentira que te quedaste de nuevo sin plata. (No way you ran out of money again.)
- Mentira que tomaste mi auto sin mi permiso. (No way you borrowed my car without my permission.)
By the way, I hate it when that happens. Just kidding! Ni siquiera tengo auto (I don’t even have a car).
FREE Spanish Training
Great! Now stop saying a plain “No” in Spanish y ¡empieza a ser negativo como debe ser en español! (Start being negative in Spanish as it should be!) Wait, that came out wrong… I mean be as negative as possible! I mean use negatives in Spanish correctly!
¿Quieres que siga? (Do you want me to keep going?) Alright, I know how to take “no” for an answer. Before we finish, remember we also have a free Spanish training on our website where you'll discover the method we use in our Spring Spanish Academy to teach students to speak fluent Spanish. You also get some free sample Spanish lessons there that come straight from our Academy!