Sunday, 9 June 2013

Tell Me, Are You Going To Have Coffee Or Tea?


Introduction
This post is about the practical use of the negatives in general and more specifically the use of “no” and ni.




SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. You are about to have breakfast. The other person is not sure about what you want to drink and says to you something like: "tell me, are you going to have coffee or tea?"*.

In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿vas a tomar café o té?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿va a tomar (usted) café o té?


OUR TIP
The question is an invitation for you to say what you are going to have. When saying what you are going to have, you do not need to consider different levels of formality for you reply. You can concentrate on saying what you will have.

Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • No* voy a tomar café, voy a tomar té (I am not going to have coffee, I am going to have tea);
  • No* voy a tomar té, voy a tomar café (I am not going to have tea, I am going to have coffee);
  • No* voy a tomar ni café ni té, voy a tomar chocolate (I am not going to have coffee nor tea, I am going to have chocolate);

Now you should practise replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿vas a tomar café o té?

*Please see grammar topic below, the negativesNi


Grammar- Negatives

Forming negatives in Spanish is fairly straightforward. The following notes are aimed at outlining some of the options available to form negatives.









    1. No
Placing the word 'no' in front of the verb is the easiest way of forming negatives in Spanish. Some examples of this simple method of forming negatives are:
  • No puedo ir (I can't go);
  • No llamaste a Pedro, ¿verdad? (you didn't call Pedro, did you?);
  • No hemos visto tu foto (we haven't seen your photo);
  • John y Ann no son hermanos (John and Ann are not brother and sister);


    2. Nunca/ Jamás
The Spanish terms 'nuncaand 'jamás' may be used to form negatives in Spanish. They can be used individually or together and alongside 'no' to give an emphasis to negatives. Alternatively, they may also be used on their own to form negatives. Typical arrangements are as follows:

  • The terms 'nunca'/ 'jamás' may be used on their own to form negatives. In this arrangement, 'nunca'/ 'jamásusually stand before the verb. The terms 'nunca'/ 'jamásmay again be used individually or together. However, when used together, they should always be expressed as, 'nunca jamás'. Examples of this form of negatives are:
    • Jamás he dicho eso (I have never said that);
    • Nunca voy a hablar de eso (I am never going to talk about that);
    • Nunca jamás voy a hablar de eso (I am never ever going to talk about that);
    • En jamás de los jamases voy a hablar de eso (I am never ever going to talk about that);

  • The terms 'nunca'/ 'jamás' may also be used in conjunction with 'no' to qualify or further emphasise negatives. In this arrangement, 'no' usually stands before the verb and 'nunca'/ 'jamásfollow the verb. The terms 'nunca'/ 'jamásmay be used individually or together. However, when used together, they should always be expressed as, 'nunca jamás'. Examples of this form of negatives are:
    • No he dicho eso nunca (I have never said that);
    • No he dicho nunca eso (I have never said that);
    • No voy a hablar de eso jamás (I am never going to talk about that);
    • No voy a hablar jamás de eso (I am never going to talk about that);
    • No voy a hablar nunca jamás de eso (I am never ever going to talk about that);
    • No voy a hablar de eso nunca jamás (I am never ever going to talk about that);
    • No voy a hablar de eso en jamás de los jamases (I am never ever, ever going to talk at all about that);

Notes

The use of these 'double/ multiple negatives' gives the expressions an added firmness.







    3. Nadie
The Spanish term 'nadie' may be used to form negatives in Spanish. It may also be used on its own or in conjunction with 'no' in negatives. Typical arrangements are as follows:

  • The term 'nadie' may be used on its own to form negatives. In this case, 'nadie' is placed before the verb. Examples of this form of negatives are:
    • Nadie viaja (nobody travels);
    • Nadie me ha llamado (nobody has called me);
    • Nadie va a venir (nobody is going to come);


  • The term 'no' is placed before the verb with 'nadiefollowing the verb. This is perhaps the more common arrangement. Examples of this form of negatives are:
    • No viaja nadie (nobody travels);
    • No me ha llamado nadie (nobody has called me);
    • No va a venir nadie (nobody is going to come);


  • The terms 'nunca'/ 'jamás' may also be used in conjunction with 'nadieto qualify or further emphasise negatives. These terms are often used as replacements for 'no' as shown in the examples below:
    • Nunca viaja nadie (nobody ever travels);
    • Jamás me ha llamado nadie (nobody has ever called me);
    • Nunca jamás va a venir nadie (nobody is ever going to come);
    • Jamás de los jamases va a venir nadie (nobody is ever going to come at all);


    4. Nada
The term 'nada' may be used to form negatives in Spanish. It may also be used on its own or in conjunction with 'no' in negatives. Typical arrangements are as follows:

  • The term 'nada' may be used on its own to form negatives. In this case, 'nada' is placed before the verb. Examples of this form of negatives are:
    • Nada veo (I see nothing);
    • Nada me ha llegado (nothing has arrived for me);
    • Nada me han regalado (I have been given nothing -I had to work hard for what I have);


  • The term 'no' is placed before the verb with 'nadafollowing the verb. This is perhaps the more common arrangement. Examples of this form of negatives are:
    • No veo nada (I don't see anything/ I see nothing);
    • No me ha llegado nada (nothing has arrived for me);
    • No me han regalado nada (I have been given nothing);


  • The terms 'nunca'/ 'jamás' may also be used in conjunction with 'nadato qualify or further emphasise negatives. These terms are often used as replacements for 'no' as shown in the examples below:
    • Nunca veo nada (I never see anything);
    • Jamás me ha llegado nada (never has anything arrived for me);
    • Nunca jamás me han regalado nada (I have never ever been given anything -I had to work hard for what I have);
    • Jamás de los jamases me han regalado nada (I have never ever been given anything at all);


    5. Ni
The Spanish term 'ni' may be used to form negatives in Spanish. It is commonly use to link together two negatives. As such, it is commonly used as follows:

  • In pairs as shown in the examples below:
    • Ni te veo ni te oigo (I neither see you nor hear you);
    • Ni me has llamado ni me has escrito (you have neither called me nor written to me);
    • Ni vamos a ir al cine ni al teatro (we are neither going to go to the cinema nor the theatre);


  • Paired up with 'no' as shown in the examples below:
    • No te veo ni te oigo (I neither see you nor hear you);
    • No me has llamado ni me has escrito (you have neither called me nor written to me);
    • No vamos a ir al cine ni al teatro (we are neither going to go to the cinema nor the theatre);


    6. Tampoco
The Spanish term 'tampoco' may be used to form negatives in Spanish*. It is commonly use to link together negatives. As such, it is commonly used paired up with 'no' as shown in the examples below:

  • No te veo y tampoco te oigo (I don't see you and can't hear you either);
  • No me has llamado y yo tampoco te he escrito (you have not called me and I have not written to you either);
  • Si no voy al cine, ¿tú tampoco vas? (if I am not going to go to the cinema are you not  going either?);

Notes


*In Spanish, 'tampoco' ('neither') is only used in negative expressions. Its opposite, 'también('also') is never used in negative expressions







    7. Ninguno/ Ninguna
The term 'ninguno'/'ninguna' may be used to form negatives in Spanish. Typical situations are as follows:

  • The terms 'ninguno'/ 'ninguna' may be used on their own to form negatives. When used in this way, they are placed before the verb. Examples of this form of negatives are:
    • Ningún* documento adicional era necesario (no additional document was needed);
    • Ninguno de mis amigos va a venir (none of my friends will come);
    • Ninguna de aquellas personas se sentó (none of those people sat down);


  • The term 'no' is placed before the verb with 'ninguno'/ 'ninguna' following the verb. This is perhaps the more common arrangement. Examples of this form of negatives are:
    • No teníamos ningún* documento adicional (we had no additional documents);
    • No va a venir ninguno de mis amigos (none of my friends will come);
    • No se sentó ninguna de aquellas personas (none of those people sat down);


  • The terms 'nunca'/ 'jamás' may also be used in conjunction with 'ninguno'/ 'ningunato  qualify or further emphasise negatives. These terms are often used as replacements for 'no' as shown in the examples below:
    • Nunca fue necesario ningún* documento adicional (no additional documents were ever necessary);
    • Jamás vino ninguno de mis amigos (none of my friends ever came);
    • Nunca jamás se sentó ninguna de aquellas personas (none of those people ever sat down);
    • Jamás de los jamases vino ninguno de mis amigos (none of my friends ever came);

Notes


*When placing the masculine form “ninguno” before a noun, the ending -should be omitted and an accent placed above the last -u (i.e. ningún”).






Now you should practise the use of the negatives with some examples of your own.

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