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Grammar - Affirmative and Negative Commands

This Spanish Medium Review quiz will take a look at using affirmative and negative commands in Spanish. Up until now the quizzes in the Spanish Easy Review series and in the Spanish Medium Review series have dealt with using the positive or affirmative form of a sentence and/or a command (instruction). However, not everything is in the positive.

Answers, questions and commands can be negative. In English we use the words don’t, doesn’t and didn’t to indicate a negative question or statement. These words do not exist in Spanish. Rather, simply using the word 'no' is all that is needed. In Spanish, the word 'no' is placed before the verb. Let’s look at a few examples of affirmative sentences and then negative sentences.

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ENGLISH AFFIRMATIVE SPANISH AFFIRMATIVE
He works. Trabaja.
They eat. Comen.
I knew it. Lo sabía.
ENGLISH NEGATIVE SPANISH NEGATIVE
He doesn’t work. No trabaja.
They don’t eat. No comen.
I didn’t know it. No lo sabía.

That seems to be pretty simple doesn’t it?

Another word not used in Spanish is the word 'not'. For example, in English we would say something like: not now. The Spanish word for 'now' is 'ahora'. So, to say 'not now' in Spanish you would simply add a 'no' after the word making the Spanish translation: ahora no (not now). To say 'not me' in Spanish you would say 'yo no' and 'not yet' would be 'todavía no'. The 'no' word is extremely important in Spanish.

COMMANDS

Commands, also known as instructions, can also be made negative by simply using the word 'no'. This is done by placing the word 'no' before the base form of the verb. Remember that the base form of the verb is the verb with its AR, ER or IR ending. So, let’s take a look at some affirmative commands followed by some negative commands.

ENGLISH AFFIRMATIVE COMMAND SPANISH AFFIRMATIVE COMMAND
Wash the dog. Lavar el perro.
Sit on the sofa. Sentar en el sofá.
Keep the book. Guardar el libro.
ENGLISH NEGATIVE COMMAND SPANISH NEGATIVE COMMAND
Don’t wash the dog. No lavar el perro.
Don’t sit on the sofa. No sentar en el sofá.
Don’t keep the book. No guardar el libro.

There are several other ways to say things in the negative in Spanish but you will learn those in the Spanish Difficult Review series. For now, let’s stick to the basics for this quiz.

When you think about it, speaking and/or writing in the negative is a lot easier in Spanish than in English. After all, you mainly only need to use one word, i.e., 'no'. Now let’s move on to the quiz. The quiz contains ten sentences or commands that are in English. Your task is to find the negative version of that sentence or command from the four given Spanish answers. COMMAND: Begin the quiz!

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  1. Call the police.
    The negative of this sentence would be: Don’t call the police. The Spanish translation of the negative command is: No llamar a la policía. Llamar means to call.
  2. Make the bed.
    The negative of this sentence would be: Don’t make the bed. The Spanish translation of the negative command is: No hacer la cama. Cama means bed.
  3. We laugh.
    The negative of this sentence would be: We don’t laugh. The Spanish word for laugh is reír. To then say 'We don’t laugh.' you would say: No reímos.
  4. They remember.
    The negative of this sentence would be: They don’t remember. The Spanish word for remember is recordar. To say 'They don’t remember.' is then said as: No recuerdan.
  5. Go to the store.
    The negative of this sentence would be: Don’t go to the store. The Spanish translation of the negative command is: No ir a la tienda. Tienda is store.
  6. Not today.
    You must first determine the Spanish word for today. That word is hoy. This now means that the second and last answers can be eliminated. When the word 'no' is being used as 'not', it will come after the word. The first answer shows 'no' before hoy so it can be eliminated. The third answer translates as: Not today. The third answer is the correct negative translation. [NOTE: Some Spanish speaking countries will actually put the 'no' before the word as 'no hoy' so you might come across this. However, the most common format is to put 'no' after.]
  7. Stop the clock.
    The negative of this sentence would be: Don’t stop the clock. The Spanish translation of the negative command is: No parar el reloj. Reloj is clock.
  8. He sleeps in.
    The negative of this sentence would be: He doesn’t sleep in. The Spanish word for sleep is dormir. To say 'He doesn’t sleep in.' in Spanish you would say: Él no duerme en. Remember that the 'no' must come directly before the verb. As the pronoun él (he) is being used, the word 'no' will come after the pronoun and before the verb. You might see or hear the word 'no' used before the pronoun but it is an incorrect usage that many people mistakenly use.
  9. Not really.
    You must first determine the Spanish word for really. That word is realmente. This now means that the first, third and last answers can be eliminated. The second answer translates as: not really.
  10. Finish the test.
    The negative of this sentence would be: Don’t finish the test. The Spanish translation of the negative command is: No terminar la prueba.

Author: Christine G. Broome

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