This sentence is crazy, it seems like there's a triple negative to it. Makes me wonder if I'll ever be able to think in Russian, because to me, instinctively, this sentence is like "I never don't open anything." It's so weird to me. Yikes. I guess what I can't wrap my head around is the не here. Why is it needed? It seems like никогда already establishes the negative, and не is redundant.
Right, there’re three negative words. We can easily create sentences with four, e.g. Я никогда́ никому́ ничего́ плохо́го не де́лала 'I've never did anything bad to anyone'.
I hope you’ll understand this in time.
If the sentence is negative, all the words that can be replaced with a negative counterpart get replaced (кто-то 'someone' — никто́ 'no one', что́-то 'something' — ничто́ 'nothing', всегда́ 'always' — никогда́ 'never', etc.). There's a limited number of such words, so hopefully this is not too hard.
and не is redundant.
It's redundant indeed, but since negatives are so important (few words change the meaning in such a drastic way!), it makes sense to repeat it to make sure you’re understood correctly. People might mishear you (e.g., «не» sounds like «мне»), and using double negatives helps to get the message through.
It doesn’t matter whether the number of “negative” words in the sentence is even or odd, because the only really negative word in the Russian sentence is «не», all the pronouns and adverbs with the ни- prefix simply being enhancements of negation. You can’t make a negative sentence in Russian with the verb without «не». At the same time, «Я когда-то чего-то не открываю» means “Sometimes there are things that I don’t open”. Compare: «Он ничего не читает» (=He doesn’t read anything) and «Он чего-то не читает». The latter sentence can be interpreted in two ways: (1) “There are some things he doesn’t read” and (2) “For some reason, he doesn’t read anything”, because, in a casual conversation, чего-то or что-то may replace отчего-то.
That depends... If you put the adverb "ninguém" in front of the sentence, you don't need the "não", but if you move it after the verb, you can say perfectly "não viu ninguém o carro". That happens also in italian "non ha visto nessuno la macchina", spanish "no vió nadie el coche", and I guess that french and other languages latin languages have that particular thing. But usually the adverb is placed at the start of the sentence so you don't have to do that double-negative sentence. Not sure if in russian you can say the adverb change "не видел никто машины" or if it sounds weird.
For some reason I was assuming while translating it that this sentence referred to jars, cans, and other food packaging. (...or doors?) It was only after I got confirmation that I had it right that I realized it was not such a weird remark in the context of e.g. mail. (Or email attachments.)
Well, it’s technically two separate sounds /nʲɪɐtkrɨˈvaju/, but since both sounds are reduced, it can be pretty difficult to distinguish them.
Why, ничто is always used for ‘Nothing’ when ‘nothing’ is the subject of the sentence:
Ничто не вечно под луной. (Nothing is everlasting under the moon).
Ничто его не беспокоит (Nothing worries him).
Ничто нас так не радует, как успехи наших детей. (Nothing makes us so happy as our children’s success).
As you can see, in all such sentences the verbs are used with the negative particle «не».