Positives and negatives in Spanish can be challenging for English speakers to master because of a conceptual difference regarding double and triple negatives. The following activities will help students understand how and when to use affirmation and negation and practice using them in narratives!
In English, it is poor grammar to use a double negative. However in Spanish, in order to communicate the absence of something or a negative concept, the speaker must use only the negative words and thus double, triple, and quadruple negatives are not only possible, but often mandatory.
Complicating the concept further, one hardly ever uses a plural on the negative side. In Spanish, the reasoning is that if I don’t have any, how could that be plural? Thus, you may write a grammatically correct Spanish sentence that directly translated into English would be “I don’t have no friend.” English speakers often find these details of positives and negatives to be challenging.
To start, have students learn the terms as vocabulary. Then, slowly introduce the nuances, leaving time to practice at each step. Once students have completed the activities in this lesson plan, consider furthering their practice by having them speak their narrative storyboards aloud! Oral practice is key when learning a language, and students will be able to better master the sentence structure behind Spanish negation and affirmation!
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