Using 'Nadie' in Spanish

Pronoun means 'nobody' or 'no one'

Don't tell
¡No lo digas a nadie! (Don't tell anyone!).

Amnesty Interntional UK/Creative Commons.

Nadie is an indefinite pronoun that typically means "no one" or "nobody." Nadie can replace a noun that has been mentioned previously in a conversation or is obvious from context; it is considered indefinite because it doesn't refer to a particular person.

Key Takeaways: Nadie

  • Nadie is usually a pronoun that means "nobody" or "no one."
  • When used as part of a double negative, nadie often is translated "anybody."
  • Unless the context demands otherwise, nadie is treated as masculine.

Although it has no gender, it is typically used with masculine adjectives unless the context requires otherwise.

The antonym of nadie is alguien.

Nadie Used as a Subject

Nadie when used as the subject of a sentence takes a singular verb. For example, "nadie lo cree" means "nobody believes it" or "no one believes it."

  • Nadie es perfecto. (Nobody is perfect.)
  • Los mujeres soon tristes. Nadie está contenta. (The women are sad. Nobody is pleased. The feminine adjective is used here because the context indicates that nadie refers to women.)
  • Nadie quiero viajar conmigo. (Nobody wants to travel with me.)
  • Una encuesta revela que casi nadie va a comprar el new iPhone 8 si cuesta más de 1.000 dólares. (A new poll indicates that almost nobody is going to buy the new iPhone if it costs more than $1,000.)

Nadie Used as Part of a Double Negative

When nadie follows the verb of a sentence, typically it is used as part of a double negative. Because standard English does not use double negatives, nadie is sometimes translated into English as "anybody" or "anyone" in such sentences. For example, "No conozco a nadie" translates to, "I don't know anybody."

  • ¡No lo digas a nadie! (Don't tell anyone!)
  • Ellos jamás comprenden a nadie. (They never understand anybody.)
  • No veo a nadie fuera de mi trabajo. (I never see anybody outside of my work.)

Nadie Used in Questions

When used as part of a question, nadie is used as part of a double negative. For example, ¿No ha estudiado nadie?, means,​"Hasn't anybody studied?" Again, because nadie is being used in a double negative, the word is translated into "anybody."

  • ¿No quiere nadie ir contigo? (Doesn't anybody want to go with you?)
  • ¿No sale nadie para asistir a la clase? (Isn't anybody leaving to attend class?)
  • ¿No cree nadie que Elvis todavía vive? (Doesn't anybody still believe Elvis is alive?)

Nadie Used as an Object Pronoun

When used as an object pronoun, nadie requires the personal a. A personal a serves as a preposition. It has no direct translation into English. For example, "No veo a nadie" means "I don't see anyone."

  • A nadie me importa. (Nobody cares about me.)
  • Estoy sola en una ciudad donde no conoce a nadie. (I'm alone in a city where I don't know anybody.)
  • Mi misión no es dañar a nadie. (My mission isn't to harm anyone.)

Using the Phrase Nadie De

In standard Spanish, the phrase nadie de, "nobody from," "nobody in," or "nobody of," is followed by a singular noun. The Royal Spanish Academy says that nadie de should not be used to indicate one person of a group, and that ninguno should be used instead. Thus "none of my friends" should be translated as "ninguno de mis amigos." However, in real life "nadie de mis amigos" is sometimes used.

These examples are of standard Spanish:

  • Nadie del equipo está feliz. (Nobody from the team is happy.)
  • Ninguno de los jugadores está feliz. (None of the players is happy.)
  • No hay nadie de Madrid en el foro. (There is nobody from Madrid in the forum.)
  • No hay ninguno de los estudiantes en el foro. (There are none of students in the forum.)

Nadie Used Figuratively

As with "nobody" in the English sentence "He believes he's a nobody," nadie can be used figuratively as a noun. As a noun it can be masculine or feminine as well as singular or plural depending on whom it refers to.

  • Quiero que sea un nadie en mi mundo. (I want to be a nobody in my world.)
  • Ahora volvía a ser la doña nadie que no podía tener novio. (Now I would again become the Ms. Nobody that couldn't have a boyfriend.)
  • Los sinhogares son los nadies, los olvidados. (The homeless are the nobodies, the forgotten ones.) 
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Your Citation
Erichsen, Gerald. "Using 'Nadie' in Spanish." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Erichsen, Gerald. (2020, August 27). Using 'Nadie' in Spanish. Retrieved from Erichsen, Gerald. "Using 'Nadie' in Spanish." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 30, 2023).