How to Say ‘No’ in Spanish: Formal and Informal Expressions (2023)

How to Say ‘No’ in Spanish: Formal and Informal Expressions (1)

September 13, 2021 by Olga Put Spanish Grammar 0 comments

Do you know how to say “no” in Spanish in a polite way?

It’s not necessarily easy to say “no” in Spanish or any other language. Being assertive is a skill that takes practice. Of course, you don’t want to be rude or offensive.

Keep reading to learn how to say “no” in Spanish politely and colloquially. I’ll show you many useful expressions for turning things down or denying what other people say.

23 Ways to Say ‘No’ in Spanish

In Latin America, people are so polite that quite often they say “yes” when they really mean “no.” But, this aspect of the culture is another topic.

For today, let me show you how to say “no” in Spanish in a polite manner and also in more informal or colloquial ways.

1. No

Okay, this one looks pretty similar to the English word, but the pronunciation is different. It’s a short /no/ not a diphthong /noʊ/. You can hear the Spanish pronunciation here. It’s a bit of a blunt way to say “no”—but a valid one.

—¿Lo quieres?

—Do you want it?

How to Say ‘No’ in Spanish: Formal and Informal Expressions (2)

2. No gracias – No, thank you

How do you say “no” in Spanish without sounding offensive? No gracias. It’s the same as the expression above, only much more polite.

—¿Lo quieres?
—No, gracias.

—Do you want it?
—No, thank you.

3. Nop – Nope

To say “no” in Spanish in a super informal way, use this expression. It works the same way as the English “nope” but once again, make it a short /o/ instead of the English diphthong.

It’s okay to use with friends, but if you say it to your teacher, for example, you might sound a bit impolite.

—¿Estudiaste para el examen?
—Nop, no tuve tiempo.

—Did you study for the exam?
—Nope, I didn’t have time.

4. Nel – Nah

This is a slang expression from Mexico City.

—¿Vamos al cine?

—Let’s go to the cinema?

How to Say ‘No’ in Spanish: Formal and Informal Expressions (3)

5. Ni en tus sueños – In your dreams

This is an informal, creative, and sarcastic way to deny something.

—¿Quieres salir conmigo?
—Ni en tus sueños.

—Do you want to go out with me?
—In your dreams.

See also: 11 Simple Ways to Say ‘Of Course’ in Spanish

6. Por supuesto que no – Of course not

This is a stronger way to deny something. Imagine saying it with a slightly indignant tone.

—¿Lo hiciste?
—¡Por supuesto que no! ¿Quién crees que soy?

—You did it?
—Of course not! Who do you think I am?

7. Para nada – Not at all

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

—¿Te gusta la pintura?
—Para nada.

—Do you like the painting?
—Not at all.

8. Claro que no – Of course not

This is a neutral, polite way to say “no” in Spanish if you want to deny something.

—Tú no te llevaste mis llaves, ¿verdad?
—Claro que no.

—You didn’t take my keys, did you?
—Of course not.

How to Say ‘No’ in Spanish: Formal and Informal Expressions (4)

9. ¿Estás loco o qué? – Are you crazy or what?

This informal phrase is a blunt way to deny something without explicitly saying “no.”

—¿Puedes cuidar de mi casa mientras me voy de vacaciones?
—¿Estás loco o qué? Tengo mi propia vida.

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

10. Ni se te ocurra – Don’t even think about it.

This phrase is informal but still polite.

—Podríamos no ir a la última clase y escaparnos a la playa un ratito.
—Ni se te ocurra. Tenemos un examen mañana.

—We could skip the last class and go to the beach for a little while.
—Don’t even think about it. We have an exam tomorrow.

11. Obvio que no – Obviously not

Here’s another informal way to say “no” in Spanish to deny something.

—¿Te gustan las almejas?
—Obvio que no.

—Do you like clams?
—Obviously not.

12. Ya quisiera – I wish

This is a lovely, colloquial, and indirect way to say “no” in Spanish.

—¿Dormiste la siesta?
—Ya quisiera.

—Did you take a nap?
—I wish.

13. Negativo – Negative

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

—¿El sospechoso está ahí?

—Is the suspect there?

14. Ni de broma – No way

Another colloquial expression, this is a synonym of para nada. It literally translates to “not even as a joke.”

—¿Puedes prestarme tu coche?
—¡Ni de broma!

—Can you lend me your car?
—No way.

How to Say ‘No’ in Spanish: Formal and Informal Expressions (5)

15. En absoluto – Not at all

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

—¿A ti te gustan las nueces?
—¡En absoluto! Soy alérgico.

—Do you like nuts?
—Absolutely not. I am allergic.

16. De ninguna manera – No way

This is also a bit more formal expression, but your mother could perfectly deny you something using it.

—Mamá, ¿puedo quedarme por la noche en la casa de Juan?
—De ninguna manera. Los niños tienen que dormir en sus propias casas.

—Mom, can I spend the night at Juan’s house?
—No way. Children have to sleep in their own houses.

Hand-picked for you: Ningun vs Ninguno: What’s the Difference?

17. Nada de esto – No way

This is another expression that Spanish-speaking parents like to use.

—Mamá, ¿puedo comprarme estos zapatos?
—Nada de esto señorita. Tienes diez años. Las niñas de tu edad no usan tacones.

—Mom, can I buy these shoes?
—Mo way, young lady. Girls your age don’t wear heels.

18. Ni lo pienses – Don’t even think about it

Use this phrase with your friends to say “no” in a non offensive but decisive way.

—¿Y sí nos vamos en tu coche?
—Ni lo pienses. No quiero manejar todo el día.

—And if we go in your car?
—Don’t even think about it. I don’t want to drive all day.

19. Ni hablar – No way

If you hear this phrase, there’s no space for negotiation.

—Pa, ¿puedo usar tu traje hoy por la noche?
—Ni hablar. Lo vas a ensuciar.

—Dad, can I use your suit tonight?
—No way. You’re going to mess it up.

20. No me da la gana – I don’t feel like it

This is an informal and frank way to say “no.”

—¡Vamos al parque!
—No me da la gana.

—Let’s go to the park!
—I don’t want to.

How to Say ‘No’ in Spanish: Formal and Informal Expressions (6)

21. No está el horno para bollos – This is the wrong moment

This expression means that it’s not a good moment to do something and we should wait a bit for a more favorable situation.

—¿Vamos a pedirle a Pedro que nos preste su coche?
—Hoy mejor no. No está el horno para bollos, acaba de romper con su novia.

—Let’s ask Pedro to lend us his car.
—Better not today. This is the wrong moment, he just broke up with his girlfriend.

22. ¡Qué va! – No way!

Want to say ‘no’ in Spanish in a colloquial way? Say ¡qué va!

—¿Te gustan los perros?
—¡Qué va! Yo soy fanático de los gatos.

—Do you like dogs?
—No way! I’m a cat person.

23. Bajo ningún concepto – By no means

This is a strong and formal way to turn something down or deny something.

—¿Puedes prestarme mil pesos?
—Bajo ningún concepto. Nunca pagas tus deudas.

—Can you lend me a thousand pesos?
—By no means. You never pay your debts.

Practice Saying ‘No’ in Spanish!

Now you know how to say “no” in Spanish in so many ways. Spanish speakers get creative when they want to turn something down or deny something without offending the other person.

The best way to learn how people in the street speak is to listen to authentic dialogues as often as possible. Watch lots of Spanish TV and Spanish series to learn colloquial expressions and make them yours.

It takes time to sound like a Spanish native speaker, but it’s worth the effort. Did you know that according to the BBC, bilingual people are more empathetic than people who only speak one language? And if you ever get Alzheimer’s, you’ll show symptoms five years later than monolingual speakers. I know, it’s a pretty delayed reward, but I find it motivating.

If you want to take your Spanish to the next level, sign up for a free trial class. Practice in a 1-to-1 setting with a friendly, experienced, native-Spanish-speaking teacher from Guatemala. Take the opportunity to work on saying “no” in Spanish and so much more!

Ready to learn more Spanish grammar and vocabulary? Check these out!

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Olga Put

Freelance Writer at Homeschool Spanish Academy

I'm a Spanish philologist, teacher, and freelance writer with a Master's degree in Humanities from Madrid. I speak Polish, Spanish, and English fluently, and want to get better in Portuguese and German. A lover of literature, and Mexican spicy cuisine, I've lived in Poland, Spain, and Mexico and I'm currently living and teaching in Madeira, Portugal.

Latest posts by Olga Put (see all)

  • Which Spanish Dialect Should You Learn? - February 18, 2023
  • 100+ Basic Spanish Words and Phrases for Travelers - February 17, 2023
  • 12 Easy Steps To Becoming an English-Spanish Translator - February 15, 2023

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How to Say ‘No’ in Spanish: Formal and Informal Expressions? ›

De nada. Sometimes, we use the expression “no problem” in Spanish to mean “you're welcome.” Just say: de nada. This is the most common way of replying after anyone says ¡gracias!

How to do say no in Spanish? ›

  1. No puedo. One of the most common ways to say No in Spanish is No puedo. ...
  2. No quiero. If you don't want to do something, you can use the phrase No quiero. ...
  3. Para nada. When you want to say “No” in Spanish, Para nada is a great expression to use. ...
  4. Ni se te ocurra. ...
  5. Ni lo sueñes. ...
  6. De ninguna manera. ...
  7. Ni hablar.

Does de nada mean no problem? ›

De nada. Sometimes, we use the expression “no problem” in Spanish to mean “you're welcome.” Just say: de nada. This is the most common way of replying after anyone says ¡gracias!

Is no gracias a saying? ›

No, gracias

This is the standard way of saying “no” when offered something. It's also the most polite option. No, gracias means “No, thank you” in Spanish, and it's used in the same way as in English.

What is the best way to say no? ›

10 different ways to say no
  1. Sadly, I have something else going on.
  2. I have another commitment.
  3. I wish I were able to.
  4. I'm afraid I can't.
  5. I don't have the bandwidth for that right now.
  6. I'm honored you asked me, but I simply can't.
  7. Thanks for thinking of me. ...
  8. I'm sorry, I'm not able to fit this in.
Jan 7, 2022

How do you answer yes or no questions in Spanish? ›

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

How do you put no in a sentence in Spanish? ›

The most basic way to make a sentence negative in Spanish is to place a “no” before the verb and after the subject. Following this very simple rule, you can start using basic negation in your conversations: Subject + No + Verb.

Is De nada rude? ›

Is De nada rude to say? Not really. It is a very common and formal phrase to say You're welcome in Spanish.

How do you say no worries professionally? ›

A few favorites: "You're welcome." "My pleasure." "Any time." "Absolutely." "I'd be happy to."

How do you say don't worry in Mexico? ›

No te preocupes

This translates as “Do not worry” and it is probably the expression people in Mexico use the most, as it also means “No hay problema”. So, if you ever come to Mexico o tienes amigos mexicanos (or if you have Mexican friends), you can start telling them ¡No te preocupes!

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 does no mucho mean? ›

not much. Millions translate with DeepL every day.

What does no bueno mean? ›

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

How do you say no to a formal? ›

How to say no in any situation – 20 phrases
  1. I appreciate the offer/invite, but I can't commit.
  2. I'm honored by the offer/invites, but can't.
  3. I'm flattered you considered me, but unfortunately I'll have to pass this time.
  4. I appreciate the offer/invite, but I am completely booked.
  5. Thank you for thinking of me, but I can't.
Mar 18, 2021

Can Nada mean no? ›

Nada means "nothing." The kids next door will be disappointed if they learn that their lemonade stand has earned them nada. The noun nada is an informal way to say "zero." If you ask a deli worker how many plain bagels he has, and he answers, "Nada," it means they're out of your favorite kind.

What response is yes-no? ›

Yes / No questions are also called closed questions because there are only two possible responses: Yes or No. When forming a Yes / No question, it must include one of these verbs: BE, DO, HAVE, or a modal verb.

What are the 8 Spanish question words? ›

Spanish question words list
  • ¿Qué? / ¿Cuál? = What? ...
  • ¿Quién? / ¿Quiénes? / ¿De quién? / ¿De quiénes? = Who? ...
  • ¿Cuándo? = When? ...
  • ¿Cuál? / ¿Cuáles? = Which? / Which ones? ...
  • ¿Cuánto/a? / ¿Cuántos/as? = How much? / How many? (Both for feminine and male nouns). ...
  • ¿Cómo? = How? ...
  • ¿Dónde? = Where? ...
  • ¿Por qué? / ¿Para qué? = Why?
May 2, 2018

How do you say no answer? ›

Say No and Apologize
  1. Sorry, but I'm swamped (busy) right now!
  2. Sorry, but it just won't work for me.
  3. Sorry, but I have something else.
  4. Sorry, but I can't make it.
  5. My apologies, but I can't right now.
  6. My apologies, but it's not possible.
  7. I don't think it will work. I'm sorry.
  8. I can't. My apologies.

What is a word for no answer? ›

On this page you'll find 60 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to unanswered, such as: ignored, not explained, not responded to, pending, tabled, and without reply.

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.

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 is a forty in slang? ›

Container size. In the American vernacular, a forty-ounce or simply a forty is a glass or plastic bottle that holds 40 US fluid ounces (1,200 millilitres; 21⁄2 US pints) of malt liquor.

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.)

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.

Is there no K in Spanish? ›

The letters k and w do not occur in Spanish words unless the word has been borrowed from another language such as English or even Japanese. For example, el karate is considered a “Spanish” noun, even though the k is not a Spanish letter. In Spanish, there are two ways to produce the sound of the English letter k.

How do you respond to Que Pasa? ›

Estoy bien. Nothing. I'm fine.

Can Mucho gusto mean you're welcome? ›

Con gusto or Con mucho gusto are other common ways to say "you're welcome" in Spanish. These phrases mean "with pleasure," and it's a great way to show that you're happy to help someone. You can say Con mucho gusto in a variety of different situations.

How do you respond to Hola? ›

If in passing someone says “hola!” to you, it would acceptable to reply: “como estas?

How do you say no in a serious way? ›

4 different ways to say no that still make you likeable
  1. "Let me think about it." This is a polite and professional way of asking for more time to consider the request. ...
  2. "The idea sounds great! It's just that . . . " ...
  3. "I can't today. ...
  4. "I'm sorry, but I can't." ...
  5. 4 steps to back out of a commitment gracefully.
Dec 3, 2018

How do you say don't be rude in a professional way? ›

Here are some ways to do exactly that:
  1. That is really rude and there's no need for that.
  2. You are being inconsiderate and I need you to stop.
  3. This has gone far enough, this needs to stop.
  4. I will not tolerate rudeness, I am ending this conversation.
  5. We can continue when you are ready to speak respectfully.
Jan 16, 2019

How do you say no rush professionally? ›

Ways of telling someone not to hurry - thesaurus
  1. (there's) no hurry. phrase. ...
  2. in your own (good) time. phrase. ...
  3. whoa. interjection. ...
  4. haste makes waste/more haste less speed. phrase. ...
  5. what's the hurry? phrase. ...
  6. time is on your side. phrase. ...
  7. give someone/something a chance. phrase. ...
  8. in my/his/her etc hurry. phrase.

How do you say WTF in Mexico? ›

"WTF" in Spanish

¿Qué carajos..? ¡Qué demonios..!

What is slang for 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 is the Mexican slang for cops? ›

Slang Spanish Words That Mean “Police Officer”

Mexico: el tamarindo. Guatemala: la tira, la polaca. Argentina: la cana, la yuta.

How do you say sorry in Spanish i don t care? ›

The Spanish translation of “I don't care” is No me importa. It's pronounced [ˈno me i̯m. ˈpoɾ. ta] in the IPA transcription.

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.

How do you express disgust in Spanish? ›

The expression me da asco (literally "it gives me disgust") has many different translations, depending on the context: Me da asco, la verdad, mire, señor... te da asco todo. makes everything disgusting to you.

What does no mi gusta mean? ›

On the other hand, there is no me gusta (“I don't like it”), which expresses awkward dislike of something.

What does no mamacita mean? ›

The literal translation of mamacita is "little mother" but the figurative and more accurate translation is "hot momma." The moniker is never really used to describe an actual mother, a genuine mamá or mamita.

What does no conmigo mean? ›

Translation of "no conmigo" in English. not with me not me not to me.

Can a girl say bueno? ›

Change the ending to agree in gender and number.

Since bueno is an adjective, it must agree in gender and number with the noun it's modifying. If the noun is feminine, you would say "buena" (boo-EHN-ah). Add an s to the end if the noun is plural.

Do Mexicans say bueno? ›

However, in Mexico in paticular, it is common for people to answer the phone with “bueno.” In this context, bueno is loosely translated to “hello” or “yes”.

Can Bueno mean okay? ›

Bueno can be used as an interjection meaning, "OK," "sure" or "fine," as in agreeing with someone or something.

How do Mexicans say no? ›

De ninguna manera is a polite and firm way to say 'no' in Spanish. As a result, you can use it in both formal and informal situations. Depending on the context, de ninguna manera means 'no way' or 'absolutely not'.

What is no Tengo? ›

"no tengo" is "no - no have."

What is Tengo Una? ›

Tengo una idea (I have an idea)

Is Yo Tengo Grammatically correct? ›

But, grammatically, Yo tengo and tengo should be accepted as correct!

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

Does no mames mean? ›

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!”.

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.”

What does no vato mean? ›

novata [noˈvatu , noˈvata] inexperienced , raw. masculine noun, feminine noun.

What does Tengo anos mean? ›

I am 30 years old. I am years old.

What does no tengo suerte mean? ›

Translation of "No tengo suerte" in English. I'm not lucky. I have no luck. I'm unlucky. I'm out of luck.

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.


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