How to use negative sentences in Italian?
Discover this grammar lesson with simple rules and examples.
Making a sentence negative is very simple in Italian. While in English negative sentences are created by adding negative words like “isn’t”, “aren’t”, “doesn’t”, “don’t”, or “didn’t”, in Italian, we just need the negative word “non”.
You’ll probably also hear the word “no”, but you’ll only need it to answer a yes and no question since it literally means “no”.
Non – negative word
We use the negative word non right before the verb. Let’s have a look at some examples.
Make sure you focus on the negative word non and how we use it:
Lei non viene.
She isn’t coming.
Tu non vai a casa?
Aren’t you going home?
Non parlo francese.
I don’t speak French.
Oggi non lavoro.
I’m not working today.
Elisabetta e Marta non sanno niente.
Elisabetta and Marta don’t know anything.
Other negative words
There are other negative words that you’ll find very useful. These words usually go after the main verb or at the end of the sentence.
Interestingly, unlike English, they are preceded by another negative word (non).
So, basically in Italian, we have to use double negatives since otherwise, the sentence would be incorrect.
Let’s have a look at these negative words:
- Nessuno (nobody/no one)
- Niente (nothing)
- Nulla (nothing)
- Mai (never)
The structure is the following:+ non + verb + nessuno/niente/nulla/mai...
Here are some examples:
Stasera non viene nessuno.
No one is coming tonight.
Non vedo niente.
I can’t see anything.
Lei non vuole nulla.
She doesn’t want anything.
Loro non vengono mai da noi.
They never come to ours.
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