What’s the difference between ‘Ningún’ and ‘Ninguno’ in Spanish


In Spanish, both ningún and ninguno are negative words that are used to deny the existence of something. Since they both look and have very similar purposes, a lot of people assume that these words are synonymous when they’re not. For this reason, some Spanish learners want to know what’s the difference between ‘ningún’ and ‘ninguno’ in Spanish. 

Ningún and ninguno are negative words that are used to talk about the existence of something. As an adjective, ningún always precedes a singular masculine noun and it means ‘no’, ‘not a single’ or ‘any’. As a pronoun, ninguno replaces a noun. It means ‘no’, ‘none’, ‘any’, ‘no one’. 

When learning Spanish, it’s easy to confuse ‘ningún’ and ‘ninguno’ as well as understand the difference between these words. However, they both are important for your daily communication. For this reason, in the following sections, we’ll explain the difference between these words and the situations where you use them. 

In order to make things easier for you, we’ll include structures that you can follow when using these words as well as some examples of how to use them in real-life sentences. By the end of this, ‘ninguno’ and ‘ningún’ won’t be a problem for you in Spanish. 

What’s the difference between ‘ningún’ and ‘ninguno’

Both ‘ningún’ and ‘ninguno’ are quantitative words that are used to negate the existence of something. Although they may seem very similar, these words have different purposes and, as a result, work with different grammatical elements. 

Here is a comparative table where you can see the difference between them:


NingúnNinguno
ClassificationAdjectivePronoun 
VariationsNinguna* Plural form on special occasionsNinguno deNinguna de
RulesAlways goes before a noun. Only used to replace nouns. 
MeaningsNo
Any
Not a single
No
None / None of
No one
Nobody 
Any

Yo no quiero ninguno
I don’t want any

Larry no tiene ningún pantalón
Larry doesn’t have any pants

Notice that even though in both examples ‘ningún’ and ‘ninguno’ are translated as ‘any’, in the second example, we use ningún because our sentence has a singular masculine noun (pantalón). 

However, in the first example, we don’t have a noun: this is because ‘ninguno’ took its place. Now that you have a general idea about the uses of these words, let’s discuss in more depth when to use them and what elements you’ll need.  

When & How to Use ‘Ningún’ in Spanish?

Ningún is a Spanish adjective that has the purpose of expressing the inexistence or lack of something in a group of objects or people. As an adjective, ‘ningún’ needs to proceed a noun and, depending on the noun’s gender, you may need to use its feminine form ‘ninguna’. 

Based on the contexts where they are applied, ‘ningún’ and ‘ninguna’ can be translated as: 

  • No 
  • Not a single
  • Any

Here is a phrase structure that you can follow in order to use ‘ningún’ correctly.

[No] + [verb conjugated] + ningún + [noun]

Lo siento no me queda ningún lugar libre
I’m sorry I have no free space 

Eve no tiene ningún amigo en su nueva escuela
Eve doesn’t have a single friend at her new school

Clara no tiene ningún problema con el español
Clara doesn’t have any issues with Spanish 

Remember that if the noun that you’re using is feminine, you will need to use ninguna instead of ‘ningún’. 

No nos queda ninguna mesa libre
We don’t have any free tables

¿No tienen ninguna pregunta, niños?
Don’t you have any questions, kids?

Tuvieron mucho tiempo para hacer el proyecto, no tienes ninguna excusa, Joe
You guys had plenty of time to do the project, you have no excuse, Joe

When & How to Use ‘Ninguno’ in Spanish?

Ninguno and its feminine form ninguna are Spanish pronouns that are used to express the inexistence of an object or person. Additionally, we also use this word to talk about amounts. Since they’re pronouns, ‘ninguno’ and ‘ninguna’ are replacing a masculine or feminine noun. 

As a result, when using these words the context is key: people should understand what the thing is that you’re referring to. Depending on contexts and type of sentence, ‘ninguno’ and ‘ninguna’ can be translated as:

  • No
  • None 
  • Any
  • Not one / No one
  • Nobody

Here is a very basic phrase structure that you can use: 

[No] + [verb conjugated] + ninguno/ninguna

¿Compraste tacos? Yo no quiero ninguno
Did you buy tacos? I don’t want any

Estoy buscando una pluma, pero no tengo ninguna
I’m looking for a pen, but I don’t have any

Sobraron estos chocolates, Patty no quiso ninguno
These chocolates are left, Patty wanted none 

Necesito una falda para el trabajo, pero no tengo ninguna
I need a skirt for the office, but I have none 

Laura necesita un pantalón amarillo, pero no tiene ninguno
Laura needs yellow pants, but she doesn’t have any  

Notice that depending on the context, ‘ninguno’ and ‘ninguna’ could be expressing an amount: I want zero tacos (none). But they can also be used to talk about the lack or inexistence of an object: in my wardrobe, there are no skirts. 

Take Note: Unlike other Spanish words, both ‘ninguno’ and ‘ningún’ don’t work as much with plural forms. In fact, we only use the plural form with objects with invariable plural nouns such as tijeras (scissors), lentes (glasses), etc.

No tengo ningunas tijeras
I don’t have any scissors 

¿Tienes otros lentes de sol? No traje ningunos
Do you have another pair of sunglasses? I didn’t bring any

Ninguno de – Any of / None of

Additionally, ‘ninguno’ and ‘ninguna’ are commonly used to talk about a small part of a larger group. In this situation, these Spanish pronouns would be translated as ‘none of…’ or ‘any of…’.

Ninguno + de + [determiner] +  [noun/pronoun]

Ninguno de mis amigos pudo venir
None of my friends could come

No me gusta ninguno de estos diseños
I don’t like any of these designs

A ninguna de mis hermanas les gustan los tacos
None of my sisters like tacos

Ninguna de ustedes sabe hablar italiano
None of you know how to speak Italian 

Wrapping Up

When learning Spanish, ningún and ninguno can be easily confused because both words have the same meanings. But despite this similarity, ‘ningún’ and ‘ninguno’ work with different elements, as a result, they’re not interchangeable. 

For that reason, in this article, we discussed that ‘ningún’ is a Spanish adjective and as such it always needs to work with a noun. In fact, ‘ningún’ precedes a singular masculine noun and its feminine form, ninguna, will precede a singular feminine noun. 

We also mentioned that ninguno is a pronoun. This means that, as long as the context is clear and everybody understands what we’re talking about, we’re going to use ‘ninguno’ to replace that masculine noun. Additionally, ninguno de is a structure that we use any time that we want to refer to a small part of a larger group.

Incorrect

No tengo ninguno lápiz I have none pencil

Correct

No tengo ningún lápiz I have no pencil

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the difference between ‘ningún’ and ‘ninguno’ and you’re ready to start applying them in your conversations.

Related Resource: What’s the difference between algún and alguno

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I’ve taught Spanish in Mexico to a wide array of foreigners. From students and tourists to doctors and soldiers who’ve moved and visited here over the years. During the day I’m a freelancer and marketer, while at night I’m here writing for students of the world wide web looking to learn Spanish. I hope you find what you’re looking here during your journey into Español 🙂 Read More About Me

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