Chilli con y sin carne

I’ve seen people using “chilli no carne” to describe vegan chilli… and it makes my eyes bleed 😭

What these people need is sin. But not the immoral sort of sin; rather the Spanish preposition sin, which means without.


  • Chilli con carne = chilli with meat ✅
  • Chilli sin carne = chilli without meat ✅
  • Chilli no carne = you go to jail ❌


I was trying to analyse why does “chilli no carne” sound so wrong.

To start with, it doesn’t make sense grammatically. There are two nouns (chilli, carne) and an adverb (no), but they’re disjointed; “no” is not connecting anything. It just sounds like someone is randomly uttering words in the hope that they sound vaguely Spanish.

But then, even just applying “no” to a noun does not make it the opposite of it in Spanish. We use “in-“. For example:

  • acción – inacción
  • posible – imposible (the “n” becomes “m” before b and p)

So if you wanted to use this “in” prefix, you could call it chilli con incarne.

But speakers tend to simplify, to say the most with the least.

So why add “in”, an extra syllable, when what you want to denote is the absence of “carne”? And that can be accomplished by using the opposite of “con”, which is “sin”?

So back to square one: use “sin” instead 😜

Postdata 2

The only place I can remember I have seen “no” being used as negation prefix in Spanish is in terror literature, where they translate “the undead”, as “los no-muertos” (muerto means dead). But you can still notice that it is not quite assimilated into the language; the hyphen gives you a clue of this pseudo-compound word being a special case.

Maybe I get so repulsed by the sight of “no carne” because it reminds me to “no-muertos” 🧟‍♀️🧛🏻‍♀️


Postdata 3

Am I the only one who over analyses words and grammar in such detail? Have you spent time thinking about how other people are wrong?

I have a sense that I’m not alone 😂

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