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"I am going nowhere" and "I don't go anywhere" both translate to "No voy a ningún lugar" as they basically mean the same thing. But there is is a change in emphasis between the two (reference: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/147931/i-am-going-nowhere-or-i-am-not-going-anywhere). Is there a way to capture that difference in a Spanish translation? Maybe by putting emphasis on a particular word, and if so which word(s)?

  • Could you include the emphasis in your explanation? So there is no need to dig into another page to get the difference you want to make. Some examples would help – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Dec 23 '19 at 15:55
  • Thats a good point but I don't really know how to express it. I am considering the question generally ("I don't know anyone" / "I know no one." /etc) but even in the specific case I don't know how to express it otherwise. – Frank Schwieterman Dec 23 '19 at 16:02
  • Some examples would help. Note this is a site about Spanish, so the nuances about the English language cannot be assumed to be known by everyone – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Dec 25 '19 at 16:28
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Possible ways to say this in Spanish are

  • No me voy a ningún lado.
  • No me voy a ninguna parte.

Generally one would use the "reflexive" pronoun because if the idea is deciding to leave a place, the preferred verb is pronominal irse, not basic ir. Note ningún ("not any") before a masculine noun, not ninguno ("not one").

An emphatic way of saying this would be

  • No me voy nada.
  • No me voy nada a ningún lado. (or ...a ninguna parte)

You can also emphasize the place:

  • De aquí no me voy. (or De acá... depending on dialect)

This would be appropriate if you're being invited to leave a place and you want to stand your ground and sound really angry. There are surely other ways to express this in different dialects.

I don't really understand the difference in English, but in any case there's no way to translate directly into Spanish.

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  • Thank you. I was feeling like there wasn't a general way to express the difference but was wondering if I was missing something. I think you're correct that no+irse does capture the difference in this specific case. – Frank Schwieterman Dec 23 '19 at 16:16
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    Your first versions are appropriate for the usual form "I am not going anywhere". I think your last one captures one of the usages of "I am going nowhere" said defiantly. There is also the rather depressive use of "I am going nowhere" = I am drifting pointlessly, have come up to a dead end, and so on. Not sure if your middle two capture that at all. – mdewey Dec 23 '19 at 16:18
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    I second @mdewey here. For the My life is a wilderness of despair. I'm going nowhere. the correct translaction should rather be `mi vida es un páramo de desesperación, no voy a ninguna parte| – ipp Dec 23 '19 at 17:02
  • (...that is without the reflective pronoun "me" ) – ipp Dec 23 '19 at 18:30
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People would tend to say "I am going nowhere" to indicate lack of progress in some endeavor, and not failure to travel geographically.

One way to say this in Spanish might be

No salgo adelante.

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"I am going nowhere" has a special meaning, which expresses despondency. This could be expressed in Spanish as

  • No llego a nada. [I'm not getting anywhere.]

  • No soy nadie. [I'm a nobody.]

The answer more generally, such as "I don't know anyone" / "I know no one," which you included in an explanatory comment:

In Spanish, they would both become *No conozco a nadie" or "No conozco a ninguno."

This is a case where there is not a unique, one to one correspondence between the two languages.

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