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I want to ask a question about using the word tampoco with me gusta.

I was asked to fill in the blank for the following sentence:

A mí ______ me gustan, pero a mis hermanos les gustan mucho.

I first thought it would be tambien but then it made no sense given the sentence had pero involved in the next clause.

I realised the only other possibility would be tampoco, but the sentence:

A mí tampoco me gustan, pero a mis hermanos les gustan mucho

appeared to mean to me

I like them neither, but my brothers like them a lot

which made no sense at all.

I thought the sentence should have been

A mí tampoco no me gustan, pero a mis hermanos les gustan mucho

i.e. to negate the verb gustan but it doesn't appear to work.

Why do we not negate the verb gustar with 'no' when using it with tampoco to imply negation?

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  • The correct translation is: I don't like them either.
    – Lambie
    Jul 10 at 15:14
  • @Lambie but how would you infer that the verb gustar is negated without the no placed ahead of it? It might be an intricacy of the Spanish language but there are few that I am aware of aside of ser and estar so this was initially confusing to me until I saw the answer below.
    – vik1245
    Jul 10 at 17:22
  • I was correcting your incorrect translation, that's all. There are no inferences here. You just have to memorize it: Me gusta|| no me gusta||tampoco me gusta where that third one means: I don't like it either.
    – Lambie
    Jul 10 at 17:27
  • Oh my apologies! Yes, I stand corrected. Thanks for the help! @Lambie
    – vik1245
    Jul 10 at 17:57
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There are some adverbs of negation which, in certain circumstances, do not need the no.

https://www.rae.es/espanol-al-dia/doble-negacion-no-vino-nadie-no-hice-nada-no-tengo-ninguna

explains it much, much better than I can so here is the entry. My rendering of it into English follows it.

En español existe un esquema particular de negación, que permite combinar el adverbio no con la presencia de otros elementos que tienen también sentido negativo.

Los adverbios nunca, jamás, tampoco, los indefinidos nadie, nada, ninguno, la locución en la/mi/tu/su vida y los grupos que contienen la palabra ni aparecen siempre en oraciones de sentido negativo. Si estos elementos van antepuestos al verbo, este no va acompañado del adverbio de negación no: Nunca voy al teatro; Él tampoco está de acuerdo; Jamás lo haré; Nadie lo sabe; Nada de lo que dice tiene sentido; Ninguno de ellos es actor; En su vida lo conseguirá; Ni su padre lo perdonaría. Pero si van pospuestos al verbo, este debe ir necesariamente precedido del adverbio no: No voy nunca al teatro; Él no está de acuerdo tampoco; No lo haré jamás; No lo sabe nadie; No tiene sentido nada de lo que dice; No es actor ninguno de ellos; No lo conseguirá en su vida; No lo perdonaría ni su padre. La concurrencia de esas dos «negaciones» no anula el sentido negativo del enunciado, sino que lo refuerza.

My translation follows. Note that I am neither a trained linguist nor a professional translator so the Spanish version should always be taken as definitive.

In Spanish there is a particular format of negation which allows for the combination of the adverb no with other elements which also have a negative meaning.

The adverbs nunca, jamás, tampoco, the pronouns nadie, nada, ninguno, the phrases en la/mi/tu/su vida and groups which contain the word ni always appear in sentences with a negative sense. If these element are placed before the verb then that it not accompanied with the adverb no. Nunca voy al teatro; Él tampoco está de acuerdo; Jamás lo haré; Nadie lo sabe; Nada de lo que dice tiene sentido; Ninguno de ellos es actor; En su vida lo conseguirá; Ni su padre lo perdonaría. But if they follow the verb then it must be preceded by the adverb no. No voy nunca al teatro; Él no está de acuerdo tampoco; No lo haré jamás; No lo sabe nadie; No tiene sentido nada de lo que dice; No es actor ninguno de ellos; No lo conseguirá en su vida; No lo perdonaría ni su padre. The co-occurrence of these two negative forms does not cancel the negative effect but reinforces it.

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Tampoco is always used after another negation. You need a negative sentence before the one you posted, for example:

Me dijo que no le gustan los dulces. A mi tampoco me gustan, pero a mis hermanos les gustan mucho.

There's also another way to use it correctly without the previous sentence:

A mi no me gustan tampoco, pero a mis hermanos les gustan mucho.

https://www.rae.es/dpd/tampoco

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