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  5. "He cannot do anything."

"He cannot do anything."

Translation:Han kan ikke gjøre noen ting.

August 16, 2015



I tried simply Han kan gjøre ingenting. Would this not have the same meaning?


what is the difference between "noen ting" and "hva som helst"? why can i not use the latter in this case?


"hva som helst" means more like "whatever one chooses". so it's not completely out of range, but the meaning would be too different.

What you wanted to say would translate into English as (more or less) "he cannot do whatever he wants", which is a different idea from "he cannot do anything".


does "Han kan ikke gjøre ingenting" work?


That would mean 'he can't do nothing', so no, it wouldn't have the same meaning.


Except that unlike English, double negatives don't exist in Norwegian.


In my dialect, a sentence like 'Han kan ikke gjøre ingenting' is not unusual.

But it works better in speech than in writing.


Kan jeg spørre cirka hvor? Har aldri hørt om noe slikt i norsk, i motsetning til engelsk hvor du for eksempel har "Can't get no satisfaction" og "We don't need no education".


Fra ytre Namdalen i nord-Trøndelag. Det er bare i enkelte tilfeller det fungerer da, men det er heller ikke veldig uvanlig.


Hi, thanks for the explanation. How about "Han kan gjøre ingenting?" if you would leave the "ikke" out...would that work?


Why is "hva som helst" wrong? Isn't it "anything"?


"Hva som helst" is only 'anything' in the sense of "whichever one you may choose".

I'm only a beginner, but I would suppose that using "hva som helst" might express something like, the subject cannot do as he pleases in this situation. Which is different from saying there's not a thing he can do.


Noe and noen are so confusing. Sometimes means something and someone. Then nothing at other times (noen, at any rate). Or anything another time. Or am I missing something? I can't sort these words out in my head at all.


At minimum, you can be sure that in a sentence with no negation, they keep their plain definitions as 'something' and 'someone'. Only when there is negation occurring in the sentence do you have to worry about a shift. And then it should usually be possible to work it out by context: ignore the 'noe' or 'noen' at first and look at what the rest of the sentence is trying to say, then it should be clear what the remaining word is being used for. And eventually we come to know this better by familiar patterns than by rules.


Thank you! That is a real help and I'm very grateful :)

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