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  • Writer's pictureSpeaking Brazilian

Double negative in Portuguese. Is it correct?

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In this lesson, you will learn how to use the double negative (or double negation) with the words NADA (nothing), NINGUÉM (nobody), NENHUM and NENHUMA (none).

Should we use the double negative?

Yes, in Portuguese, the use of the double negative is correct and conveys a negative meaning to the sentence. It is a feature of our language.

We use the double negative with the words NÃO plus a second negative word, such as NADA (nothing), NINGUÉM (nobody), NENHUM and NENHUMA (none).

See below some examples of affirmative and negative sentences so you can see the difference.

Affirmative sentences:

  • Eu vi tudo. (I saw everything.)

  • Tem alguém lá fora. (There's someone out there.)

  • Eu tenho uma pergunta. (I have a question.)

  • Encontrei alguns amigos na festa. (I met some friends at the party.)

Negative sentences:

  • Eu não vi nada. (I didn't see anything.)

  • Não tem ninguém lá fora. (There's no one out there.)

  • Eu não tenho nenhuma pergunta. (I don't have any questions.)

  • Não encontrei nenhum amigo na festa. (I didn't find any friends at the party.)

When is the double negative mandatory?

When the words NADA, NINGUÉM, NENHUM and NENHUMA are placed after the verb, we must use the word NÃO before the verb. In this case, the double negative is mandatory.

We cannot say:

  • Vi ninguém. (I saw nobody.)

We should say:

  • Não vi ninguém. (I didn't see anyone.)

When is the double negative not needed?

If the words NADA, NINGUÉM, NENHUM and NENHUMA are placed before the verb, there is no need to use the word NÃO. In this case, we do not use the double negative.


  • Ninguém veio à festa. (Nobody came to the party.)

  • Nenhuma pessoa veio à festa. (No one came to the party.)

  • Nenhum dos meus amigos veio à festa. (None of my friends came to the party.)

  • Nada interessante aconteceu na festa. (Nothing interesting happened at the party.)

Where to place the word NÃO?

According to grammatical rules, we must put the word NÃO before the verb, but there are many informal regional variations using the word NÃO after or before and after the verb.

Before the verb:

  • Não vi. (I didn’t see it.)

  • Não sei. (I don’t know.)

After the verb:

  • Vi não. (I didn’t see it.)

  • Sei não. (I don’t know.)

Before and after the verb:

  • Não vi, não. (I didn’t see it.)

  • Não sei, não. (I don’t know

That's it, everybody! Now, it's homework time! Leave a comment below using a double negative.

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