Using 'Nadie' in Spanish

Pronoun Means 'Nobody' or 'No One'

Don't tell
¡No lo digas a nadie! (Don't tell anyone!). Photo by Amnesty Interntional UK; licensed via Creative Commons.

Nadie is an indefinite pronoun that typically means "no one" or "nobody." Nadie can replace a noun which has been mentioned previously in a conversation or is obvious from context. A pronoun like nadie, meaning, "no one" or "nobody," is considered indefinite since it is not referencing a particular person. The antonym, or negative form of nadie, is alguien.

Nadie Used as a Subject

Nadie, when used as the subject of a sentence, is used with a singular verb.

Although it has no gender, it is typically used with masculine adjectives unless the context requires otherwise. For example, Nadie lo cree, means, "Nobody believes it." Another example, Nadie es perfecto, means "No one is perfect." In both cases, the translations in English, "nobody" and "no one," can be used interchangeably without losing any meaning or context.

Nadie Used as 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." Another example is, ¡No lo digas a nadie!, which means, "Don't tell anyone!"

Nadie Used as a Question

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."

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."

Using the Phrase Nadie De

The phrase nadie de is used when it is followed by a singular noun.

It usually means, "no one of" or "nobody in." For example, Nadie de la banda salió, which means, "Nobody in the band left."

If you want to say in Spanish, "None of them left," using the plural noun "them," then, nadie is dropped entirely and the word, ninguno, is used instead. The correct translation would be, "Ninguno de ellos salió.

Nadie Used Figuratively

Like the English phrase, "He believes he's a nobody," nadie can be used figuratively as a noun in the same way. "A nobody," directly translates to, un don nadie, for male, or una doña nadie, for a female. The sentence, Cree que es un don nadie," directly translates to, "He believes he's a nobody."

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Erichsen, Gerald. "Using 'Nadie' in Spanish." ThoughtCo, Mar. 2, 2017, Erichsen, Gerald. (2017, March 2). Using 'Nadie' in Spanish. Retrieved from Erichsen, Gerald. "Using 'Nadie' in Spanish." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 27, 2018).