Negation is a grammatical term for the contradiction of some or all of the meaning of an affirmative (positive) sentence. In English, a sentence is commonly negated by inserting a single negative word (not, don’t, didn’t, won’t, etc.) into the appropriate place in the sentence. In Spanish, a sentence can be negated by inserting one or two words.
To negate an affirmative sentence, no is placed before the conjugated verb. Donde yo me crecí, no había televisión.
Where I grew up, there was not television.
Alternate Forms of Negation
There are many other Spanish words and expressions that can be used to negate a positive statement besides the basic form no, such as nunca, nadie, jamás, ningún, etc. These negative words can be used to contradict the verb as well as other parts of a sentence. The following example uses nunca to negate the first clause and no to negate the second. Nunca teníamos radio, o sea, no escuchaba noticias.
We never had radio, in other words, I didn’t hear the news.