We have been exploring interesting forms of negation in Spanish. This lesson will be focusing on the use of the expressions en absoluto, de ninguna manera, and del todo.
The Spanish expression en absoluto (not at all) is similar to the English negation "absolutely not" but it's not used the same way. Perhaps the most notable difference is that in Spanish you don't necessarily need the word no (not) for the expression to be considered a negation. Here's an example:
Aldo, ¿a vos te molesta? -En absoluto.
Aldo, does it bother you? -Not at all.
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If you want to add the negative word no (not) you usually include it before the expression en absoluto followed by a comma:
No, en absoluto. ¿Alguna indicación más para el viaje?
No, absolutely not. Any other instruction for the trip?
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Of course, if you don't add the preposition en (in) before it, the word absoluto is just an adjective:
Quiero tener el control absoluto de la empresa.
I want to have absolute control of the company.
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Spanish also uses the adverb absolutamente (absolutely). You need a negative word such as no (not) or nada (nothing) to use it as part of a negation:
Manillas tampoco, absolutamente nada.
No bracelets either, absolutely nothing.
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If you want to use this word in short negative answers, you just need to add a negative word directly after it, or before it followed by a comma. Here are some examples:
¿Te duele algo? -Nada, absolutamente / Absolutamente nada.
Is anything hurting you? -Nothing, absolutely not / Absolutely nothing.
¿Vino alguien a la fiesta? -Nadie, absolutamente / Absolutamente nadie.
Someone came to the party? -Nobody, absolutely not / Absolutely nobody.
¿Tienes hambre? -No, absolutamente / Absolutamente no.
Are you hungry? -No, absolutely not / Absolutely not.
The expression de ninguna manera means "no way." It can be used as part of long negative statements like de ninguna manera voy a hacer eso (there's no way I will do that). You could also invert the order of the words, but in this case you need to add the negative word no before the verb, for example: no voy a hacer eso de ninguna manera (I won't do that, no way).
You can also use de ninguna manera as a short negative answer, with or without the use of the negative word no:
¿Usted también me va a dar la espalda? -¡De ninguna manera!
You're turning your back on me too? -No way!
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No... no, no. No, de ninguna manera.
No... no, no. No, no way.
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Finally, another Spanish expression that is commonly used in negative phrases is del todo (at all, totally, completely). In fact, to be part of a negation this expression needs to be preceded by a negative word, such as no (not) or nunca (never), and a conjugated verb. Here is an interesting example:
Se titula "Nunca se convence del todo a nadie de nada".
It's entitled "You Never Convince Anyone Completely of Anything."
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You can also use del todo as part of a short negative answer: you have to keep the negative word proceeding it (in this case you should not use a comma) but you can omit the conjugated verb because it's implied in context. For example:
¿Te gustó la película? -No del todo.
Did you like the movie? -Not completely.
¿Fuiste feliz en tu primer matrimonio? -Nunca del todo.
Were you happy in your first marriage? -Never completely.