The Spanish sentence structure is similar to the English one, leaving out the exceptions.
One of these exceptions is the positioning of the negation when using the auxiliary verbs (Ser, Estar, and Haber which is used in the Perfect tenses).
Unlike in English, where the use of the auxiliary verb requires the negation after the verb, in Spanish the negation will always appear before the verb.
1. I am not a student (Yo) no soy estudiante 2. She is not here Ella no está aquí
Types of Negation
The Double Negative
The term ‘Double negative’ means that the sentence contains both a negation and the word ‘No’ to describe a negative state.
Comparison between the different languages shall clarify this distinct negative form:
The negative form in English: English DOES NOT have a double negative, thus when negating a phrase, there is no need to add the word ‘No’. In the sentence, ‘I have never seen the president’, the word ‘never’ suffices for expressing the negation (If English were to use the double negative then the sentence would be ‘I have never NOT seen the president’).
The double negative in Spanish: We will always use the double negative in Spanish, except for cases in which the negation appears in the beginning of a sentence (or adjacent to the pronoun in the beginning of the sentence.)
1. There is nothing important No hay nada importante 2. There is nobody in the house No hay nadie en la casa 3. I never eat bread in the morning Nunca como pan en la mañana
In the last example, the negation appears at the beginning of the sentence, therefore we use a single negation.