Using nunca in negatives sentences with imperative

GraemeB2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Using nunca in negatives sentences with imperative

While experimenting with nunca in negative sentences for a while, my instinct kept telling me to include the definite article in one particular construction, where it would not be required in any of the others. 

ie. Never eat sweets before dinner (imperative)

= No comas nunca LOS dulces antes de la cena

Could you clarify for me 1) if the article is actually required here at all, or 2) if it could be used correctly as an option.

Asked 6 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Graeme

if you add the article like you did in "No comas nunca LOS dulces antes de la cena", this is going to sound as if you are talking about some "specific sweets", not "sweets in general". To talk about things in general we are going to (generally) drop the article:

No bebas alcohol antes de conducir

(Don't drink alcohol before driving- general advise, not referring to any specific alcohol, bottle, wine....)

No lleves nunca corbata al trabajo. 

(Don't ever wear a tie at work - general advise, not referring to any specific tie that you might be pointing at)

But, I don't think this just happens with the imperative. It happens with other tenses, and it also happens with sentences not using "nunca":

Yo nunca bebo vino.

Durante su estancia en Nueva York nunca visitó museos.

Repartió folletos de información por el barrio.

All these are "generalising", not being specific about a particular thing. 

I hope this helped.

Inma

Using nunca in negatives sentences with imperative

While experimenting with nunca in negative sentences for a while, my instinct kept telling me to include the definite article in one particular construction, where it would not be required in any of the others. 

ie. Never eat sweets before dinner (imperative)

= No comas nunca LOS dulces antes de la cena

Could you clarify for me 1) if the article is actually required here at all, or 2) if it could be used correctly as an option.

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