How to say "no" in Spanish: formal and informal expressions (2023)

How to say "no" in Spanish: formal and informal expressions (1)

13.09.2021 vonOlga laid spanish grammar 0 comments

Do you know how to say "no" politely in Spanish?

Saying “no” in Spanish or any other language is not necessarily easy. Assertiveness is a skill that takes practice. Of course, you don't want to be rude or abusive.

Read on to learn how to say "no" in Spanish in a polite and conversational way. I'll show you a set of useful phrases for denying things or denying what other people are saying.

23 ways to say "no" in Spanish

In Latin America, people are so polite that they often say "yes" when they really mean "no". But that aspect of culture is another matter.

Today, let me show you how to say “no” in Spanish in a more polite and more informal or colloquial way.


Well, that sounds pretty similar to the English word, but the pronunciation is different. It's a short /no/, not a diphthong /noʊ/. You can listen to the pronunciation in Spanish.Here. It's a somewhat blunt way of saying "no," but it's valid.

- Want?


How to say "no" in Spanish: formal and informal expressions (2)

2.No thank you- No thank you

How do you say "no" in Spanish without sounding offensive?No thank you.It's the same expression as the previous one, just a lot more polite.

- Want?
-No thank you.

- No thank you.

3.NO- NO

Use this expression to say "no" in Spanish in a very informal way. It works the same as "nope" in English, but again make a short /o/ instead of the English diphthong.

It's fine to use with friends, but if you're telling your teacher, for example, it might come off a bit rude.

"Did you study for the test?"
"No, I didn't have time.

"Did you study for the test?"
"No, I didn't have time.

(Video) How and when to switch informal Spanish to formal Spanish

4.NO- NO

This is a slang term from Mexico City.

-Let's go to the cinema?

-Let's go to the cinema?
- NO.

How to say "no" in Spanish: formal and informal expressions (3)

5.not in your dreams- In your dreams

This is a casual, creative, and sarcastic way of denying something.

- Will you go out with me?
- Not even in your dreams.

- Do you want to go on a date with me?
-In your dreams.

See also: 11 Easy Ways to Say "Sure" in Spanish

6.Of course not- Of course not

This is a stronger way of denying something. Imagine saying that with a slightly indignant tone.

-They do?
-Of course not! Who do you think I am?

-They do?
-Of course not! Who do you think I am?

7.Not at all- No way

Here's another way to deny something. Use it in both informal and formal situations.

-Did you like the ink?
-Not at all.

- Do you like the color?
-No way.

8.Of course not- Of course not

This is a neutral and polite way of saying "no" in Spanish when you want to deny something.

"You didn't take my keys, did you?"
-Of course not.

"You didn't take my keys, did you?"
-Of course not.

How to say "no" in Spanish: formal and informal expressions (4)

9.Are you crazy or what?- Are you crazy or what?

This informal phrase is a direct way to decline something without explicitly saying "no."

"Can you take care of my house while I go on vacation?"
-Are you crazy or what? i have my own life

— Can you take care of my house while I go on vacation?
"Are you crazy or what?" i have my own life

10Do not you dare- Do not even think about it.

This phrase is informal, but still polite.

(Video) Formal and Informal Spanish Grammar

We could skip the last class and escape to the beach for a while.
-Do not you dare. We have an exam tomorrow.

"We can skip the last class and go to the beach for a while.
- Do not even think about it. We have an exam tomorrow.

11Obviously not- Obviously not

Here's another informal way of saying "no" in Spanish to say no.

"Do you like mussels?"
-Obviously not.

— Do you like mussels?
-Obviously not.

12and I wanted- I wish

This is a beautiful, colloquial and indirect way of saying "no" in Spanish.

"Did you take a nap?"
-And I wanted.

"Did you take a nap?"
-I wish.

13Negative- negative

As in English, this expression comes from police radio codes. People also use it in informal conversations.

"Is the suspect there?"

"Is the suspect there?"

14it is no joke- Without an opportunity

Another slang term synonymous withnot at all. It literally means "not even as a joke".

"Lend me your car?"
- It is no joke!

- Can you lend me your car?
-By coincidence.

How to say "no" in Spanish: formal and informal expressions (5)

15.absolut- No way

This one is more formal. Use it to emphasize your disagreement.

"Do you like nuts?"
-Absolutely! I'm allergic.

— Do you like nuts?
-Absolutely not. I'm allergic

sixteen.No way- Without an opportunity

This is also a slightly more formal expression, but your mother could very well be denying you by using it.

— Mom, can I stay at Juan's?
-No way. The children have to sleep in their own apartment.

— Mom, can I stay at Juan's?
-No chance. The children have to sleep in their own apartment.

Handpicked for you: None vs. None: What's the Difference?

(Video) 10 informal ways to ask "How are you?" in Spanish

17. None of that- Without an opportunity

This is another phrase Spanish speaking parents like to use.

"Mom, can I buy these shoes?"
"Not at all, Miss. He is ten years old. Girls her age don't wear heels.

— Mom, can I buy these shoes?
"No, young lady. Girls your age don't wear heels.

18do not even think about it- Do not even think about it

Use this phrase with your friends to say "no" in a non-offensive but firm way.

"And if we get in your car?"
-Do not even think about it. I don't want to drive all day.

"And if we get in your car?"
- Do not even think about it. I don't want to drive all day.

19. No Way - No Way

When you hear this phrase, there is no room for negotiation.

"Dad, can I wear your suit tonight?"
-Without speaking. you get dirty

"Dad, can I wear your suit tonight?"
-No chance. you will ruin it

20I have no desire- I am not in the mood

This is an informal and open way of saying "no".

-Let's go to the park!
-I have no desire.

-Let's go to the park!
- I wouldn't like to.

How to say "no" in Spanish: formal and informal expressions (6)

21The oven for the bread is not there.- This is the wrong time

This expression means that it is not a good time to do something and we have to wait a bit for a more favorable situation.

"Shall we ask Pedro to lend us his car?"
"Better not today. The bread oven isn't there, he just broke up with his girlfriend.

— We asked Pedro to lend us the car.
"Better not today. This is the wrong time, he just broke up with his girlfriend.

22What a chance!- Possible opportunity!

Want to say “no” colloquially in Spanish? Saycoincidentally!

-Do you like dogs?
-No chance! I'm a fan of cats.

-Do you like dogs?
-No chance! i am a cat person

23under all circumstances- No way

This is a strong, formal way of rejecting or denying something.

"Can you lend me a thousand pesos?"
-Under each concept. You never pay your debts.

"Can you lend me a thousand pesos?"
-No way. You never pay your debts.

(Video) Top 15 phrases with "NO" in Spanish

Practice saying "no" in Spanish!

Now you know how to say "no" in Spanish in many ways. Spanish speakers are creative when they want to reject or deny something without offending the other person.

The best way to learn how people speak on the street is to listen to authentic dialogue whenever possible. see manySpanish televisionmispanish seriesLearn colloquialisms and make them your own.

It takes time to sound like a native Spanish speaker, but it's worth it. Did you know that accBBCAre bilingual people more empathetic than people who only speak one language? And if you have Alzheimer's, you'll be showing symptoms five years later than monolingual speakers. I know it's a long overdue reward, but I find it motivating.

If you want to take your Spanish to the next level, enroll at afree trial lesson. Practice one-on-one with a friendly, experienced Guatemalan Spanish-speaking teacher. Take the opportunity to learn how to say "no" in Spanish and much more!

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Olga laid

freelance writerNOSpanish school at home

I'm a Spanish philologist, teacher and freelance writer with a Masters in Humanities from Madrid. I am fluent in Polish, Spanish and English and would like to improve my Portuguese and German. A lover of literature and spicy Mexican cuisine, I have lived in Poland, Spain and Mexico and currently live and teach in Madeira, Portugal.

The latest posts from Olga Put(See everything)

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(Video) 03 How to form Usted Commands in Spanish


How to do say no in Spanish? ›

No puedo. One of the most common ways to say No in Spanish is No puedo.

What is the difference between no lo se and no se? ›

The most common one you'll see is no lo sé. But you may also hear yo no sé or just no sé. Any of those are fine, and they're often used interchangeably. To be technical, the difference is that lo represents “it” — the “it” that you don't know.

How do you say no means no in Spanish? ›

No means no. Ya te he dicho que no mil veces. No es no.

When you answer a yes or no question negatively in Spanish you use no twice? ›

OJO: To answer a “yes / no question” in the negative in Spanish, the word “no” is typically used twice because there is no equivalent for the word “not” in English. The first “no” answers the question and the second is the equivalent of “not”: ¿Estudia Julia en casa?

Is no in Spanish just no? ›

Almost everyone knows how to say “no” in Spanish… mainly because it's the same word as in English: “no” is no. But, when speaking any language, there are so many nuances to a single word. In English you don't often just say “no”.

What does SI mean yes or no? ›

“Si” means “Yes” after a negative question or affirmation. “Si” also means “So much”, like “tellement.” “Si” is a musical note in French music.

How is no mames used? ›

What does no mames mean? No mames is crude Spanish slang used to express disbelief (both positive and negative) or excitement. Used especially among Mexican Spanish speakers, the exclamation corresponds to “No way!”, “You're kidding me!”, or “Stop messing with me!”.

What is the se lo rule in Spanish? ›

You have to use se instead of le (to him, to her, to you) and les (to them, to you), when you are using the object pronouns lo, la, los, or las. Se lo di ayer. I gave it to him/her/you/them yesterday.Se las enviaré. I'll send them to him/her/you/them.

What is the informal word for no? ›

Casual or informal ways:

Nope – A very casual way of saying 'no', it can be understood as being the opposite of 'yeah'. Nah – This word communicates a certain level of distaste for the comment that it is answering. No way – An extreme way of saying 'no', this phrase really highlights the negative aspect.

How do you say no instead of no? ›

Words such as 'no', 'never', 'no one' and 'neither … nor' also add negative meaning, for example 'I've never heard of him', 'No problem! ' and 'Throw away everything that is neither useful nor beautiful'. Word forms can add prefixes like 'un' and 'dis' to create negative forms, for example 'unhappy' and 'dislike'.

How do you answer a question in no Spanish? ›

To answer a question which requires a yes or no answer, just use sí or no. ¿Te gusta? – Sí/No. Do you like it?

Is Nada affirmative or negative? ›

2- Affirmative and Negative Words in Spanish
Negative WordsPositive (Indefinite) Words
Nada / NothingAlgo / Something
Nadie / NobodyAlguien / Somebody
Ni / Neither, NorO / Or
Ninguno / NoneAlguno / Some, Any
2 more rows
Aug 10, 2021

Do you have to say no twice in Spanish? ›

Say "no" twice when responding to a question with a negative. In Spanish it is customary to say "no" once to answer the yes/no question, and then again in the sentence itself. The second "no" goes with the verb. For example, if someone asked you "¿Habla usted español?" and you don't speak Spanish, you would reply "No.

What are 4 ways to say no? ›

How to Say “No” for Any Reason at All!
  • I wish I could make it work.
  • I wish I were able to.
  • I'd rather not.
  • I'm afraid I can't.
  • If only I could!
  • No thanks, I won't be able to make it.
  • Not this time.
  • Unfortunately, it's not a good time.

What are the six ways to say no? ›

The psychologist Trevor Powell describes six ways of saying no - you choose which one to use depending on the situation:
  • The direct "no" ...
  • The reflecting "no" ...
  • The raincheck "no" ...
  • The enquiring "no" ...
  • The broken record "no"
Mar 4, 2021

How do you politely refuse in Spanish? ›

To decline an invitation in Spanish politely, you can use one of the following phrases:
  1. Lo siento, pero ya tengo un compromiso – I am sorry, but I have already made plans.
  2. Me gustaría, pero no puedo – I'd love, but I can't.
  3. Desafortunadamente no puedo – Unfortunately, I can't.
Sep 25, 2019

What is a no bueno? ›

(US, informal, mildly humorous) not good; no good; bad.

What does oui mean? ›

OUI means operating under the influence and is the preferred term for the criminal charges related to impaired or drunk driving.

What does OUI mean in English? ›

In English oui is used as a casual and sometimes playful way of saying yes.

Does SI mean ok in Spanish? ›

Spanish "sí" with an accent

An adverb that expresses affirmation. This usage is usually translated as yes.

Is it spelled güey or wey? ›

Güey (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈwej]; also spelled guey, wey or we) is a word in colloquial Mexican Spanish which is commonly used to refer to any person without using their name.

What is the Mexican slang for bro? ›

Wey (güey) means bro or dude, but it can also be a general word for guy. A lot of young people have incorporated it into their vocabulary and even use it as a transition word, like the English use “like”. “y tipo wey, estaba allí, y me miró…”

What does Ah Perro mean? ›

Use this expression to show amazement and surprise. It's very similar to oh my gosh. But in a very informal way.

Why does lo siento mean sorry? ›

Although the meaning of lo siento is “I'm sorry,” this isn't an exact translation. Literally, lo siento means “I feel it”—which, if you think about it, is a beautiful way of apologizing. What exactly is that thing that you feel? It's whatever you did wrong that's made you “feel” that you need to apologize.

Does vida mean in Spanish? ›

Origin:Spanish. Meaning:life. Vida is a gender-neutral name with Spanish origins. The name Vida simply means “life”.

Why is it le gusta and not se gusta? ›

Quick answer – we use 'le gusta' to talk about what other people (he / she / it) like and dislike. In English we'd say, 'he / she / it likes', but in Spanish we either say 'le gusta' or 'le gustan'. 'Se gusta' doesn't actually exist and, yep, that one letter really does make a big difference!

Is no one formal or informal? ›

"No one" is also an indefinite pronoun, and it means the same thing as "nobody." It is usually considered more formal than "nobody," which is why it is more likely to appear in writing.

How do you say no one in formal? ›

No one or nobody? No one and nobody mean the same. Nobody is a little less formal than no one.

Is no a rude word? ›

The norms, manners and social practices of modern society state that 'no' is often perceived to be rude. We are taught to comply, seek acceptance and stick with the group by following the rules and accepted behaviours of society.

What does no ❤ mean urban? ›

DEEP DIVE. “No ❤️” combines the negativity of rejection with the positivity of a heart emoji. The top Urban Dictionary entries on the term define it as “a passive aggressive way to say no, saying no in a judgmental way.” and “it's just a funny way to say no.” The emoji.

What is slang for no reply? ›

no response. You've been left on read–feeling snubbed or ignored.

How do you say oh no professionally? ›

7 Tips on How to Say No to Customers
  1. Ask for clarification.
  2. Explain what's going to happen next.
  3. Be honest.
  4. Reframe the “no” using positive language.
  5. Make the customer feel heard.
  6. Offer alternatives.
  7. Explain the reasoning behind the current design.
Apr 4, 2023

How do you say I can't come politely? ›

How to say no politely
  1. I'm sorry, I'm busy on Friday.
  2. I'm afraid I can't make this Friday.
  3. It would be really nice, but I'm afraid I can't come.
  4. That sounds great, but I'm afraid I can't come.
  5. That's a really nice invitation, but I'm afraid I can't come.
Nov 9, 2016

What is the use of no in Spanish? ›

In Spanish, the most common negative word is no, which can be used as an adverb or adjective. As an adverb negating a sentence, it always comes immediately before the verb, unless the verb is preceded by an object, in which case it comes immediately before the object. No como. (I am not eating.)

Do Spanish people say no problemo? ›

Recap: In Spanish, we say “no problema” NOT “no problemo”. Alternatives ways of saying “no problem” in Spanish are: “no hay problema”, “ningún problema”, “de nada”, “no hay de qué”, and so on.

How do you say I have no words in Spanish? ›

no tengo palabras

(No machine translations here!)

Is de nada an appropriate response? ›

De nada is the most common way to say 'you're welcome' in Spanish. It literally translates to English as 'of nothing'. You'll hear it in both formal and informal contexts, so there's no limitation on where it can be used. Muchas gracias por la ayuda.

What is the difference between por nada and de nada? ›

In short – 'de nada' and 'por nada' both translate to 'you're welcome' in English. 'Por nada', however, is considered an Americanism by the Royal Academy of Spanish Language (i.e., an expression used exclusively on the American continent).

What is the opposite of nada? ›

The opposite of "nada" is "algo" in Spanish.

Why does Spanish drop the yo? ›

Spanish is what linguists call a "pro-drop" language, which simply means that the pronoun can be dropped. It's not necessary for comprehension, the way it is in English, because the subject of the verb is evident from the conjugated verb. "I go" can be translated by yo voy or simply voy (from the verb ir – to go).

Is it no yo tengo or yo no tengo? ›

Both are fine. But the preferred way to say it is "No tengo comida". Adding "No" in front of the sentence is unnecessary.

What does no Tengo mean? ›

I don't have.

How do Mexicans say no? ›

Nel is a popular Mexican slang word used to say 'no' in Spanish. Since it's an informal term, it's close in meaning to 'nope' and 'nah'. Nel, mañana no puedo. No, I can't make it tomorrow.

What is Tengo Una? ›

Tengo una idea (I have an idea)

Is Yo Tengo formal or informal? ›

1 Answer
Person / NumberConjugation
First person singularyo tengo
Second person singular (informal)tú tienes
Second person singular (formal)usted tiene
Third person singularél/ella tiene
4 more rows

When to use tengo que? ›

I Need / You Need. When using the first person with tener que, we use tengo que, which means 'I need to'. To say, 'I need to study', you would use, tengo que estudiar.

Is it rude to say no mames? ›

“No Mames” is a VERY rude and disgusting phrase to use in front of a woman, or strangers. “No Manches” Is a lot more decent, but it still is not proper Spanish. “No Manches” liberally means, “don't screw (joke or play) around” or “quit screwing around.”

Do they say OK in Mexico? ›


There's no literal translation for órale in English. Instead, it can mean one of a few different expressions, such as: “Okay”

What does Tengo anos mean? ›

I am 30 years old. I am years old.

What does no gustas mean? ›

i don't like.

What does no Mancha mean? ›

The phrase you're looking for is "no manches", or literally, "don't stain".

How can we say no politely? ›

Saying “No” to an Invitation or Offer

I appreciate the offer, but I can't. I'm honored, but can't. I'd love to, but I can't. I appreciate the invitation, but I am completely booked.

How do you express hate in Spanish? ›

Odio: “I hate”. The strongest expression for expressing disgust. This works for everything you could possibly hate, for example about a restaurant or an annoying thing. Me fastidia / Me fastidian: “It bothers me / They bother me.” The difference between these expressions is basically singular vs.


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