When someone asks you a question on what do you have and you are trying to reply e.g.

"¿Tienes comida?"

Then suppose they don't have food, would they reply: "No, no tengo comida."? Or "No tengo comida."? Or are both fine?

  • Your example is wrong. In Spanish you do not use "do" in questions as an auxiliary verb, so you would say "You have food?" instead of "Do you have food?". In Spanish it would just be "¿tienes comida?", that's it. "Haces tienes comida" would mean something like "You make do you have food?" – FGSUZ Dec 9 '17 at 11:49

That's a difficult question... I guess it all depends on the conetxt, and each person can see it differently. Some people uses the long one, some others don't. Of course both are correct.

Personally, I'd say "no, no tengo". You omit "comida" because it is implicitly understood. This is the most equivalent form of "No, I don't". In Spanish, you repeat the verb instead of using "do" (since there's no do).

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"¿Tienes comida?" - Do you have food?

  1. "No." - No.
  2. "No tengo [comida]." - I don't [have food].
  3. "No, no tengo [comida]." - No, I don't [have food].
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  • It's called emphasis. In spanish, two negatives do not make a positive, so for the sake of emphasis, you can add as many negations as you want: "No, nada, ni un poco, en lo absoluto, nada de comida." "No, nothing, not a little, absolutly not, nothing of food". – Billeeb Dec 9 '17 at 16:18

Both are fine. But the preferred way to say it is "No tengo comida". Adding "No" in front of the sentence is unnecessary. You can get your point across w/o adding the No.

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  • Welcome, Astraphic! // I don't know who downvoted you, but that was an anomaly. Normally we are more welcoming to newcomers here. I have voted up your answer because the -1 looked discouraging. // Look around, get a feel for what sorts of contributions are considered strong answers. If you ever have any questions about how to proceed, Meta is a great place to ask. – aparente001 Dec 10 '17 at 4:09

"No tengo" is enough to get the point across, however let's consider when the extra "no" would commonly be included or omitted:

As others have explained, the object (comida) may be omitted in Spanish.

As part of a longer utterance (for example, "I'm sorry, I don't have any, but if you're hungry I can give you $5 to get yourself a sandwich"), I might not use the extra "no." However, for a simple negative response, it is generally more natural to add the extra "no":

No, no tengo.

This softens the message and makes it a bit more polite. (Politeness is important in Spanish.)

Also, if I'm in a high-stress situation where the dialogue is terse, then the extra "no" would be more likely to be omitted.

(For intermediate Spanish learners who might be reading this, I'll comment that "¿Tienes comida?" is not as natural or idiomatic as "¿Tienes algo de comer? | Do you have something to eat?").

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