Using negative conjunction ni/ni siquiera

The conjunction "ni" in Spanish is used in different ways but they all convey a negative meaning. 

Ni/Ni siquiera = "not even"

As the equivalent of not even in English, we can place either ni or ni siquiera in front of a clause, for example:

El pobre chico no tenía ni una manta para taparse.
The poor guy didn't even have a blanket to cover himself.

El pobre chico no tenía ni siquiera una manta para taparse.
The poor guy didn't even have a blanket to cover himself.

En casa de Rodrigo no usan internet ni para ayudar a buscar información.
At Rodrigo's house they don't even use the internet to help search for information.

En casa de Rodrigo no usan internet ni siquiera para ayudar a buscar información.
At Rodrigo's house they don't even use the internet to help search for information.

As you can see in all examples above there is a "no" in the first clause which will trigger the use of the second clause using "ni" or "ni siquiera". However, we can turn the sentence round and start with the ni/ni siquiera clause. If we do this, then we cannot negate the other clause. 

For example:

Ni una manta para taparse tenía el pobre chico.
Not even a blanket to cover himself did the poor guy have.

Ni siquiera para ayudar a buscar información usan internet en casa de Rodrigo.
Not even to help search for information do they use the internet at Rodrigo's house.

Ni ="no" 

We can also use "ni" at the beginning of a sentence to emphasise the negative meaning, basically a strong "no". It is usually used in exclamatory sentences. 

For example:

¡Ni te imaginas lo que acabo de ver!
You will not believe what I've just seen!

¡Ni se te ocurra llegar más tarde de las 12!
Don't even think about arriving after 12!

¡Ni me dirigió la palabra ayer en la reunión del colegio!
He didn't talk to me yesterday at the school meeting!

We could use the sentences above using ¡No...! instead of ¡Ni...!, but using ¡Ni...! emphasises the negation even more and also the exclamatory element of the action.

See also Using ni... ni... for neither... nor... 

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

¡Ni me dirigió la palabra ayer en la reunión del colegio!
He didn't talk to me yesterday at the school meeting!


El pobre chico no tenía ni siquiera una manta para taparse.
The poor guy didn't even have a blanket to cover himself.


¡Ni se te ocurra llegar más tarde de las 12!
Don't even think about arriving after 12!


El pobre chico no tenía ni una manta para taparse.
The poor guy didn't even have a blanket to cover himself.


¡Ni te imaginas lo que acabo de ver!
You will not believe what I've just seen!


Ni una manta para taparse tenía el pobre chico.
Not even a blanket to cover himself did the poor guy have.


En casa de Rodrigo no usan internet ni para ayudar a buscar información.
At Rodrigo's house they don't even use the internet to help search for information.


Ni siquiera para ayudar a buscar información usan internet en casa de Rodrigo.
Not even to help search for information do they use the internet at Rodrigo's house.


En casa de Rodrigo no usan internet ni siquiera para ayudar a buscar información.
At Rodrigo's house they don't even use the internet to help search for information.


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