How To Say No in Spanish: 14 Great Ways For Expressing Denial In Spanish

Person holding a No sign to illustrate how to say no in spanish

How to say “NO” in Spanish

Saying “no” in Spanish is a fundamental aspect of effective communication, not just in the Spanish-speaking world but also in any language.

Why?

Understanding how to decline, refuse, or express disagreement in Spanish is a valuable skill, crucial for navigating a wide range of social, professional, and casual interactions.

In this article, we’ll explore the multiple ways of saying “no” in Spanish, a language rich in nuances and expressions that even tie into Spanish grammar.

Not only that:

We’ll explore 14 different ways to express negation. These expressions can be from negative words or formal to not-so-nice informal, allowing you to choose the most fitting response for any given situation.

While gestures and body language can be helpful, relying on only one negative word to say no in Spanish is not always enough.

Fortunately,

The Spanish language offers a myriad of ways to convey refusal, each with its unique tone and connotations. This versatility extends to the Spanish-English dynamics, offering a unique perspective on the art of saying “no” effectively.

Ready to master how to say no in Spanish?

Let’s get started!

14 Ways How To Say “No” In Spanish

pieces of paper with the word "No" written on it

1. Ni se te ocurra

If you want to say “No” in Spanish, you can use this phrase that Spanish speakers use all the time: “Ni se te ocurra”. This translates to “Don’t even think about it” and is a great way to decline an offer.

Example:

“Ni se te ocurra dejar la puerta abierta con los mosquitos que hay en esta zona.”

Translation: “Don’t even think about leaving the door open with the mosquitoes we have in this area.”

2. De ninguna manera

If you want to be really definitive in your rejection, you can use the phrase “De ninguna manera” Ninguna is another negative word in the Spanish language that means basically “none”.

This expression translates to “Now way” in English.

“De ninguna manera” is an informal and frank way to say no in Spanish and leaves little to no room for interpretation.

Example:

“De ninguna manera voy a prestar mi coche a alguien que no tiene experiencia de manejo.”

Translation: “There’s no way I’m going to lend my car to someone who has no driving experience.”

3. Ni lo sueñes

If you want to say “No” in Spanish in a forceful way, you can use the phrase Ni lo sueñes. The literal translation would “Don’t even dream about it”. It is a great informal way to shut down an offer or request that you’re not interested in or found obnoxious or offensive.

Example:

“Ni lo sueñes con hacer trampa en el examen; eso sería injusto y deshonesto.”

Translation: “Don’t even think about cheating on the exam; that would be unfair and dishonest.”

4. Ni de broma

“Ni de broma” is a Spanish expression that roughly translates to “not a chance,” “no way,” or “absolutely not” in English. But literally translates to not even as a joke. It is used to express strong disbelief, and refusal, and is yet another way to say no in Spanish.

Example:

“Ni de broma voy a saltar en paracaídas; tengo miedo a las alturas.”

Translation: “No way I’m going skydiving, not even as a joke; I’m afraid of heights.”

5. Para nada

Para nada means “for nothing; at all,” this phrase is often used to emphasize a negation. Used by itself, its meaning is close to “not at all” and it is a softer way to say “no” in Spanish.

Example:

“¿Te gustaría repetir el examen?”

(Translation: “Would you like to retake the exam?”)

“Para nada, creo que esta vez saqué una buena calificación.”

(Translation: “Not at all, I think I got a good grade this time.”)

6. Ni hablar

Ni hablar is used when something is so completely wrong you cannot even consider it. It literally means “We won’t even talk about it”

This is a strong way of saying “No way” in Spanish and should only be used in situations where you really don’t want to do something or if you strongly disagree.

Example

“Ni hablar de gastar todo mi dinero en eso. Necesito ahorrar para mis estudios.”

Translation: “No way am I spending all my money on that. I need to save for my studies.”

7. Qué va

While it literally means “what goes,” this is used to express that you cannot believe what the other person is saying and find it to be nonsense. A good translation in English would be “No way”

Example:

Person A: “¿Crees que ganemos el partido mañana?” (Translation: “Do you think we’ll win the game tomorrow?”)

Person B: “¡Que va! El equipo contrario es muy fuerte.” (Translation: “No way! The opposing team is very strong.”)

8. Puede ser

“When someone asks you, ‘Te gusta la pintura?’ (Do you like painting?), you might respond with ‘Nada de esto’ (None of this) in a slightly indignant tone, or you can simply say ‘Puede ser’ (It might be).

This phrase reflects uncertainty and leaves room for further discussion, So it’s not a definite “No”

Example:

Person A: “¿Vendrás a la fiesta esta noche?”

(Translation: “Will you come to the party tonight?”)

Person B: “Puede ser, depende de cómo me sienta después del trabajo.”

(Translation: “It’s possible, it depends on how I feel after work.”)

9. Ni en tus sueños

“Ni en tus sueños” can be translated to “Not in your dreams” or “In your wildest dreams” in English. It is used to express strong disbelief or to convey that something is highly unlikely or impossible.

Example:

“Me voy de vacaciones” – “I’m going on vacation” can receive a straightforward “Ni en tus sueños” (Not in your dreams) as a response.

10. Jamás de los jamases

This expression translates to “Not in a million years” and sometimes could be taken as a negative phrase. Use it cautiously!

Example:

“Jamas de los jamases comería insectos, ¡es simplemente repugnante!”

(Translation: “Never, ever would I eat insects; it’s just disgusting!”)

11. No me da la gana

“When someone asks you, ‘Quieres salir conmigo?’ (Do you want to go out with me?), a very informal and direct way of expressing ‘no’ is by saying ‘No me da la gana’ (I don’t feel like it).

This phrase is often used among friends and reflects a personal preference.”

Example:

“No me da la gana de salir a correr bajo la lluvia. Prefiero quedarme en casa.”

(Translation: “I don’t feel like going for a run in the rain. I’d rather stay at home.”)

12. Ni se te ocurra

Someone has a really bad idea? Using this informal phrase will get your point across instead of saying “No”. The literal translation would be “Don’t even think about it”

Example:

Person A: Nosotros robaremos del Vaticano mañana por la noche(Listen! We will rob from the Vatican tomorrow night.)

Person B: Ni se te ocurra!

13. Nada de esto

Use this one to express a strong and formal way to decline a suggestion.

Example:

Person A: Quiero ser rico. Viajaremos a Japón y… (I want to be rich. We’ll travel to Japan and…)

Person B: Nada de esto (No! It’s not happening!)

14. Déjame en Paz

“In strong or formal situations, it may be necessary to express a clear and firm ‘no.’ One such phrase that gets the message across unambiguously is ‘Déjame en paz’ (Leave me in peace).

This expression is used when you want to assertively ask someone to stop bothering you and want them to leave you alone.

Example:

“Por favor, déjame en paz. Necesito un poco de tiempo a solas para concentrarme en mi trabajo.”

(Translation: “Please, leave me alone. I need some time alone to focus on my work.”)

Final Thoughts On How to Say No in Spanish

young man using his hand to illustrate he is  saying "No"

“Saying ‘no’ in Spanish is a valuable skill that enhances communication and cultural understanding.

Whether you’re conversing with Spanish-speaking parents, advancing your education, or navigating everyday interactions, mastering the art of saying ‘no’ is essential.

From finding the polite way to decline to using other negative words and phrases, the Spanish language offers a rich tapestry of options.

Keep in mind:

Understanding when and how to employ these expressions can significantly enhance your interactions with Spanish-speaking individuals, fostering respect and clear communication.

As you’ve discovered, ‘no’ isn’t the only other negative word in the Spanish language. From ‘Nunca’ to ‘impossible,’ there’s a wide array of phrases to convey negation.

So, embrace the power of ‘no’ in Spanish and enrich your linguistic experiences.”

Happy Learning!

Are you looking for an engaging and unique way to learn Spanish and dramatically improve your conversational Spanish?   

I have some good news: You can get a hold of me on my website at www.byondlanguage.com to learn about my special language learning method that emphasizes good habits and lifestyle over grammar.

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Since he was a child, Daniel has been passionate about Social Dynamics. Learn how Daniel got his start as a Language Coach, and why he decided to start this language blog. If you want to send Daniel a quick message, then visit his contact page here.

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