Word order with negatives

In Spanish, you can put certain negative words either before or after the verb, with the caveat that if they go after the verb, you have to put 'no' before the verb. So we have:

Nadie habla = No hable nadie = No one speaks. Él nunca come = Él no come nunca = He never eats. Alfredo tampoco baila = Alfredo no baila tampoco = Alfredo doesn't dance either.

Does the same option exist in Portuguese? For example, in Portuguese, would we have:

Ninguém fala = Não fala ninguém = No one speaks. Ele nunca come = Ele não come nunca = He never eats. Alfredo tampouco dança = Alfredo não dança tampouco = Alfredo doesn't dance either.

And if this is the case, which Portuguese negative words have this flexible placement?

August 21, 2019


I'm a native Portuguese speaker and I don't remember ever studying something similar to this rule... I'm no grammar expert, but I'll try to help (important note: I'm Brazilian. What I say may not apply to Portugal's Portuguese because they can be very different in some aspects)

So, "ninguém" can actually be used before or after the verb, but it can alter the meaning of your sentence or just make it sound really weird. For example, "Não fala ninguém" sounds really odd... we would understand what you're trying to say, but it'd be more correct to say "Ninguém fala".

But let's say your sentence is "Ninguém mata", which means "No one kills"... if you said "Não mata ninguém" it would actually mean "Doesn't kill anyone".

"Ele nunca come" and "Ele não come nunca" are both correct, so "nunca" applies to the Spanish rule and can be used both ways.

And "Alfredo não dança tampouco" doesn't sound right to me... "tampouco" is a denial in itself, it can be replaced for "também não", so it'd be more correct to say "Alfredo tampouco dança". But to be honest, we don't really use "tampouco" that often in everyday conversations... it's a bit too formal.

August 22, 2019

Ah, muito obrigado pela informação!

August 22, 2019
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