Double negative conjunction NI

Even though it is frequently stated that the Spanish negative conjunction ni is the equivalent of the English «nor,» in fact is used in different ways than the English word. Below you have some explanations and many examples of its usage that will help you to understand it better. Remember you can contact your personal tutor with any question you have, so let’s work!

1..Ni….ni is usually equivalent to “neither… nor” in a series of a negative statements.

Ni Marta ni Fernando vinieron a la fiesta.

No vinieron a la fiesta ni Marta ni Fernando.

Both sentences would be translated into English as “neither Marta nor Fernando came to the party”, but notice that if you are putting ni …ni after the verb you must put no before the verb.

En la casa no hay ni luz ni agua / Ni luz ni agua hay en la casa (there is neither light nor water in the house).

As the equivalent of «neither/nor» in a series: In English, it is common to use one «nor» (or one «or» in a negative sentence) to apply to a series of three or more. In Spanish, however, ni typically precedes each item in the series:

No vinieron a la fiesta ni Marta ni Fernando ni Elena, ni Cristina.

No hay en la casa ni agua, ni luz ni gas.

Notice that when the sentence is affirmative the conjunction y must be used only before the last element in the series, but all components of the sentence must be separated by commas.

Vinieron a la fiesta Marta, Fernando, Elena y Cristina.

2..To mean «not even» in Spanish we use ni siquiera. The use of siquiera is usually optional, although is a more emphatic form:

Ni (siquiera) lo imaginábamos (We didn’t even imagine it).

No ha llamado ni siquiera/ Ni (siquiera) ha llamado (He hasn’t even rung).

Again notice that if you are putting ni siquiera after the verb you must put no before the verb, and in this case, siquiera is compulsory and you can not be taken from the sentence.

3..Look how «ni» works in everyday Spanish by watching the video «la lista de la compra«. Also, click on the link to learn more about Spanish conjunctions.

Negative conjunction NI exercises

Now it is time to practice the negative conjunction NI, with the quiz below, remember to contact your tutor with any questions you have about this topic. Don’t you have a Spanish online tutor yet?

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