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My Spanish colleague invited me to do something I'd prefer not to do. Is there something I could say in response, as an equivalence to the English idiom?

  • 4
    You can pretty much say anything that sounds bad, in all languages. The more creative and on-topic, the better! – Fabian Röling May 4 at 17:48
  • With a Mexican colleague, "ni madres" – el_menjurje May 5 at 5:00
  • What’s wrong with saying ¡Prefería clavarme imperdibles en los ojos! The figurative part comes from the exaggeration, not the semantics, so I expect anything would get lost in translation. There’s a Romanian guy on a TV show I watch who does this (for example, one time his wife was dropping snacks in the bed, and he said You’re so messy! What, do you have holes in your hands? which I’ve never heard in English, but it makes perfect sense) and I’ve always thought it makes him look creative and funny. – gen-ℤ ready to perish May 5 at 15:26
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There are several options for this. One short, common choice is just a plain ni muerto ("not even dead").

—¿Te vienes a hacer puenting con nosotros?
—Ni muerto.

Starting from this you have several other options, such as ni loco ("not even crazy").

—¿Te vienes a hacer puenting con nosotros?
—Ni loco.

Those two choices are included in the DLE, but here is when creativity comes to help. One common choice used where I live is ni harto vino ("not even drunk", the h pronounced as in English to emphasize):

—¿Te vienes a hacer puenting con nosotros?
—Ni harto vino.

(Note that this last one is a very colloquial option and it may cause quite a laughter if someone that is learning the language uses it. You can use instead the more common ni borracho, literally "not even drunk".)

Some different choices are y un cuerno and y un carajo, being the former more colloquial and the latter rude and a bit harsh.

—¿Te vienes a hacer puenting con nosotros?
—Y un cuerno.

Apart from these expressions, you can just translate the original sentence, I think it would be understood. What's important here is the structure of the sentence to use. I recommend using the antes adverb to indicate your preference.

—¿Te vienes a hacer puenting con nosotros?
—Antes me clavo agujas en los ojos.

This would be understood but it sounds in Spanish as if you are just translating an English sentence. A more idiomatic option would be:

—¿Te vienes a hacer puenting con nosotros?
—Antes me corto un brazo.

You can just use creativity again here. I remember the George of the Jungle movie in which in the Spanish version they just translated a similar sentence like this:

—¿No querer que Úrsula amar a George?
—Antes preferiría que me clavaran la lengua a esa mesa a la hora de comer.

The more exaggerated the sentence the more you convey your disgust about what they told you.

Mas una vía sola, señora, hallo para que sin ofenderos pueda suplicaros por lo demás sin ofender a vuestra honra ni al desseo que de serviros tengo, porque sin esto antes me dexaría passar por la cruel muerte que errar un punto contra vuestra honra.

Feliciano de Silva, "Lisuarte de Grecia", 1514 (Spain).

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks - superb answer – Strawberry May 4 at 10:29
  • @Strawberry I couldn't resist answering such a funny question. :-) – Charlie May 4 at 10:30
  • @Strawberry I have added a couple more options, but note that this answer may be quite biased towards the European Spanish. If you need answers based on the Spanish spoken in a specific American country, please specify it in your question with the appropiate tag. – Charlie May 4 at 10:46
  • Actually, if we're getting really specific, an answer employing a Catalan idiom would be even smarter – Strawberry May 4 at 10:48
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    Anyway, nailing my tongue to a table with a burning nail sounds infinitely preferable to the activity my colleague had in mind. Thanks! – Strawberry May 4 at 13:58

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