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¡No, no y no! No is a basic word that we all learn even before learning Spanish… However, there’s more ways to say no in Spanish, depending on the intensity and the context of our sentence.

In this post we are going to learn more basic ways to say no in Spanish:  apart from a simple no (just a plain no), we can also say ni hablar, qué va and qué dices. Maybe you are wondering in which context it is appropriate to use these expressions. Very simple!  Most of them are more typical of conversational Spanish, and you shouldn’t use them in a very formal situation. These three expressions could be translated as ‘no way!’ in English.

Take a look at this table, or download our free PDF – ways of saying no in Spanish.


Negación Significado y contexto
No Negación estándar, neutra. Se usa con mucha frecuencia y en todos los contextos.Standard way of negation, neutral. It is used very often and in any kind of context.
¡Ni hablar ! Negación fuerte y directa. Puede resultar seca o demasiado autoritaria si hay falta de confianza o si no hay un contexto apropiado. Por ejemplo :Mamá, ¿puedo coger el coche esta noche?¡Ni hablar!Very strong and straight forward way of negation.It might sound too authoritarian or even impolite if you use it with someone you don’t know that much.
¡Qué va ! Negación muy frecuente y coloquial. Es una negación fuerte, pero amable. Por ejemplo :¿Te importa si abro la ventana?¡Qué va, no te preocupes! Ábrela.Very frequent but informal way of negation. It sounds strong but more polite than ¡ni hablar!
¡Qué dices! Negación muy fuerte, enfática y directa. También puede resultar seca o demasiado autoritaria si hay falta de confianza. Se usa en contextos muy coloquiales :¡Me encanta esta playa! Es super bonita…¡Qué dices! ¿Estás loco? Es una porquería de playa…Very strong and straight forward way of negation. It can sound too authoritative if the relationship between both speakers is not close enough.


In the next weeks we’ll be posting some more ways of saying no in Spanish. But for now you can try to memorize and try to use these 3 new expressions. Can you think of an example for each of them? Don’t be shy and post a comment! We will give you any necessary feedback or correction for free.

And of course, if you enjoyed this post, you should check out our blog to find more free Spanish exercises and downloadable PDFs that you may use to learn Spanish online. We also highly recommend you try one of ELINQUA’s trial lessons so you can find out what our online Spanish lessons are like!