In short – ‘Cómo no’ is an extremely common expression in Mexico and much of the Spanish-speaking world. It’s widely used in informal contexts as a kind of affirmation (similar to ‘of course’ or ‘sure thing’ in English). It can also, however, be used to disagree with a statement / opinion.
It´s literal translation is ‘how not’ –
¡Cómo no te voy a querer si eres tan linda!
How could I not love you when you’re so cute!
Uses / Meanings of ‘cómo no’ in Spanish
‘Cómo no’ can be used in the following ways:
- As a way of saying ‘of course’ / ‘sure thing’
- As a way of challenging a statement that you don’t agree with
- Used to mean ‘how not’ or ‘how couldn´t’
As a way of saying ‘of course’ / ‘sure thing’
If you’re ever in Mexico, you’re sure to hear ‘cómo no’ being used as an affirmation at some point or another.
In this context, ‘cómo no’ is an upbeat and amicable phrase; it translates to something along the lines of ‘sure thing’, ‘of course’ or ‘you bet’.
Jessica – ¿Me puede dar 100 gramos de queso?
Raúl – ¡Cómo no, güera! ¿De cuál le doy?
Jessica – Could I have 100 grams of cheese?
Raúl – Sure thing, blondie! Which one would you like?
Jorge – ¿Vienes a la casa a cenar?
Fernando – ¡Cómo no! Ahí estaré.
Jorge – Are you coming home for dinner?
Fernando – You bet I’ll be there!
As a way of challenging a statement that you don’t agree with
Heard the phrase ‘cómo no’ said in a distinctly angrier tone of voice?
Well, it can also be used to challenge a statement / opinion that you don’t agree with!
Lourdes – No me ha llegado el depósito.
Rebeca – ¡Cómo no! Te lo mandé ayer.
Lourdes – I haven’t received the deposit.
Rebeca – Yes, you did! I sent it yesterday.
Pedro – Yo nunca dije eso*. No sé de qué me hablas.
Teresa – ¡Cómo no! No mientas.
Pedro – I never said that. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Therese – Of course you did! Don’t lie to me.
Erika´s top tip – ‘eso’ is a neuter demonstrative pronoun that we use when referring to abstract ideas. Be sure to check out our article on ‘eso’ and ‘aquello’ if you’d like to find out more!
Used to mean ‘how not’ or ‘how couldn´t’
‘How not’ is the literal translation of ‘cómo no’, but it also often translates to ‘how couldn´t’ or ‘how to avoid’.
In this context ‘cómo no’ is often followed by an infinitive –
¿Cómo no quererte? ¡Eres lo más importante del mundo para mí!
How could I not love you? You’re the most important thing in the world to me!
¿Cómo no odiarte? ¡Eres el hombre más arrogante que conozco!
How could I NOT hate you? You’re the most arrogant man I know!
En un panfleto informativo
Cómo no contraer COVID:
In a pamphlet
How to avoid getting COVID:
‘Cómo no’ pronunciation
Thankfully, this is a fairly easy phrase to pronounce: ‘có’ is said like ‘koh’, ‘mo’ like ‘moh’ and the final ‘no’ sounds like ‘noh’
Don´t forget that ‘cómo’ (‘có’ + ‘mo’) is composed of two syllables and that the stress falls on the first (i.e., ‘CÓmo’).
/ KOH-moh noh /
‘Ay sí, cómo no’ meaning
This expression is used sarcastically, kind of like the English expression ‘yeah, right’.
If you’re feeling skeptical about something then this is the one to plump for!
Pedro – Ayer iba caminando por el parque y me topé con Diego Luna.
Thamara – ¡Ay sí, cómo no!
Pedro – Yesterday I was taking a walk in the park and I ran into Diego Luna.
Thamara – Yeah, right!
‘Cómo que no’ meaning
‘¿Cómo que no?’ is often used to express disbelief; it’s a bit like the English phrase ‘What do you mean …?’. Like its English equivalent, it’s normally accompanied by a tone of incredulity.
Let’s look at some examples –
No tengo ganas de ir a la fiesta; va a ir mi ex.
¿Cómo qué no? No seas ridícula.
I don’t want to go to the party; my ex will be there.
What do you mean you don´t feel like coming? Don’t be ridiculous.
¿Cómo que no quieres ir a comer? Me dijiste que tenías hambre.
What do you mean you don’t want to go grab some food? You told me you were hungry.
Un hombre no pudo comer tanto como presumía
Amigo – ¿Cómo que no pudiste?
Hombre – Me llené, pues …
A man wasn’t able to eat as much as he said he could
Friend – What do you mean you couldn’t do it? (said sarcastically)
Man – Well, it was pretty filling …
Hopefully you’ll now be able to whip out a ‘cómo no’ the next time you want to say a heartfelt “Of course!” when accepting an invitation / request OR if you feel the need to challenge something that one of your mates has said!
Oh, and make sure you give our article on ‘que no‘ a quick once over if you wanna learn another SUPER useful Spanish chunk!