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Using nunca in negative sentences

If we want to make a negative sentence in Spanish to express You never [do something] we use the adverb nunca (never), and we generally follow one of the following formulas:

1. No + [sentence] + nunca

No comes chocolate nunca.You never eat chocolate.

2. Nunca + [affirmative sentence]

Nunca comes chocolate.You never eat chocolate.

When using the double negative no and nunca, the word nunca doesn't always have to be placed at the very end of the sentence. You could place it anywhere after the verb, and regardless of the position the meaning of the sentence remains the same.

For example:

Ella no ve la televisión en su habitación nunca.She never watches television in her room.

Ella no ve nunca la televisión en su habitación.She never watches television in her room.

Ella no ve la televisión nunca en su habitación.She never watches television in her room.

Bear in mind that when the verb comes with direct object, indirect object or reflexive pronouns, these can't be separated from the verb. 

Have a look:

No te podía ver con claridad nunca.I could never see you clearly.

No te podía ver nunca con claridad.I could never see you clearly.

Te no podia ver nunca con claridad.I could never see you clearly.

Yo no me lavo los dientes por la tarde nunca.I never brush my teeth in the afternoon.

Yo no me lavo nunca los dientes por la tarde.I never brush my teeth in the afternoon.

Yo me no lavo los dientes por la tarde nunca.I never brush my teeth in the afternoon.

With perfect tenses you need to be careful not to break the verbal structure. You cannot place nunca between the auxiliary haber and the participle. For example:

Nunca hemos estado en un parque temático.We've never been in a theme park.

Ella no había cocinado ese plato nunca.She had never cooked that meal.

English speakers sometimes make this mistake because in English it is possible to place "never" between the auxiliary have and the main verb, while in Spanish this is incorrect.

Hemos nunca estado en un parque temático.

Ella no había nunca cocinado ese plato.

There is a bit more flexibility when we have negative sentences with "nunca" using modal verbs like deber (must) or poder (to be able to).

No debes bailar nunca con esa chica.You must never dance with that girl.

No debes nunca bailar con esa chica.You must never dance with that girl.

Ella no pudo entender nunca la pregunta.She could never understand the question.

Ella no pudo nunca entender la pregunta.She could never understand the question.

Note that to say "hardly ever/nearly never/rarely" we use "casi nunca"

Fátima no sale casi nuncaFátima hardly ever goes out.

Fátima casi nunca sale.Fátima hardly ever goes out.

See also Forming negative sentences using no (negation).

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Examples and resources

Ella no había cocinado ese plato nunca.She had never cooked that meal.
Ella no ve la televisión en su habitación nunca.She never watches television in her room.
Te no podia ver nunca con claridad.I could never see you clearly.
No comes chocolate nunca.You never eat chocolate.
Ella no pudo nunca entender la pregunta.She could never understand the question.
No fui nunca estricta con mis hijos.I was never strict with my children.
Yo me no lavo los dientes por la tarde nunca.I never brush my teeth in the afternoon.
Ella no ve la televisión nunca en su habitación.She never watches television in her room.
Ella no pudo entender nunca la pregunta.She could never understand the question.
No te podía ver con claridad nunca.I could never see you clearly.
Fátima casi nunca sale.Fátima hardly ever goes out.
No te podía ver nunca con claridad.I could never see you clearly.
Yo no me lavo los dientes por la tarde nunca.I never brush my teeth in the afternoon.
No debes nunca bailar con esa chica.You must never dance with that girl.
Fátima no sale casi nuncaFátima hardly ever goes out.
Yo no me lavo nunca los dientes por la tarde.I never brush my teeth in the afternoon.
Ella no ve nunca la televisión en su habitación.She never watches television in her room.
No debes bailar nunca con esa chica.You must never dance with that girl.
Nunca hemos estado en un parque temático.We've never been in a theme park.
Nunca comes chocolate.You never eat chocolate.
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