Indefinite adjectives in Spanish (II): algo, alguien, nada, nadie

by Patricia Mendez on Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Last week, we talked about Spanish indefinite adjectives. In today’s blog post, we are going to dive deeper into the topic by learning how to use algo (something), alguien (someone), nadie (no one) and nada (nothing). Click here if you want to keep on reading in Spanish. Let’s do it!

Algo (something)

Algo is a very frequent indefinite adjective. It can refer to an animate and to an inanimate object, as well as to a non-specific action.

Examples:

- ¡Cuidado! Creo que hay algo detrás de la cortina.

(Watch out! I think there’s something behind the curtain)

[algo = animate / inanimate object]

- Juan quedó en llamarme cuando llegara a Sevilla y todavía no lo ha hecho, ¿crees que le habrá pasado algo?

(Juan said he would call me as soon as he arrived in Seville, but he hasn’t done it yet. Do you think something happened to him?)

[algo = non-specific action]

Alguien (someone)

This word is always used to talk about a non-specific person, no matter singular or plural.

Examples:

- Hoy la avenida principal estaba llena de coches oficiales, así que creo que alguien muy importante ha venido a la ciudad.

(Today the main avenue was full of official cars, so I guess someone very important must be in town)

[alguien = singular non-specific person]

- Alguien ha entrado en casa porque todo está desordenado.

(Someone has been home, because everything is a mess)

[alguien = singular or plural person]

Nada (nothing)

Nada refers to things, and it means ‘nothing’ We could say it is the opposite of something.

Examples:

- ¿Tiene algo que ofrecerme por este precio?

-Lo siento, por ese precio no podemos ofrecerle nada.

(- Do you have something to offer for that price?

- Sorry, we can’t offer you anything for that price)

-He ido a la nevera a por un yogur y no hay nada. Tenemos que hacer la compra hoy mismo.

(I wanted to grab a yogurt from the fridge but there was nothing. We need to go grocery shopping today)

Nadie (no one)

It refers to people again but meaning ‘no one’. It is the counterpart of the word alguien.

Example:

- A veces pienso que nadie me entiende cuando hablo en inglés, ¡es una sensación horrible!

(Sometimes I think no one understands me when I speak English. It’s such a horrible feeling!)

- El año pasado nadie vino a mi cumpleaños, así que este año no pienso celebrarlo.

(Last year no one came to my birthday party, so I’m not celebrating it this time)

Thank you very much to Lucas, one of our teachers in Seville’s Spanish school, for helping us better understand how indefinite adjectives work.


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