"Du kannst nicht "nein" sagen."

Translation:You cannot say "no".

February 5, 2013

This discussion is locked.


first quotation in a duolingo sentence


5 years later and they still say it's wrong if you don't use the quotation marks....

  • 2622

Gotta love the consistency of their inconsistency... and the fact that this has still not been fixed in all these years.


This is still an issue...


When you get a listening-->writing excercise how are you supposed to know that quotation marks must be used? Duolingo doesn't care about punctuation anywhere esle so why make a big deal out if it here?


My thoughts exactly. You don't need to put a question mark in questions, why should I care about quotation marks here?


Precisely, I got it wrong for that as well.


My answer is "You can not say "nein"" is marked wrong. with "" I think should not be translated, and "can not" should be same as "cannot"


Agreed. I got the question right but they pointed out that "can not" should be "cannot." I could be completely wrong on this, but I think "can not" is acceptable.


Eh, it's not great English to say "can not" instead of "cannot." The former has snarky connotations like if you asked "can I play video games?" and the response is like "uh, you can NOT play video games."


Only in writing and colloquially there is no difference. This is splitting hairs and should not be marked wrong when we are trying to learn German, not English. Bad Duo! Also, got marked wrong because I did not include the quotation marks. Duo doesn't bother marking capitalization or misplaced/missing commas, so why mess with us on this?

  • 2621

This is the only Duo question I've encountered where punctuation matters. My guess is that whoever input the question didn't know how to work around quotes-within-quotes. There are, unfortunately, certain Duo questions where you have to memorize the required answer to get past them because someone has made an executive decision that only that solution is acceptable.


Indeed - who can hear quotation marks??



Indeed - who can hear quotation marks??

I can't hear capital letters, commas or apostrophes, but I can somehow still add them when necessary.

If you heard the sentence, "You cannot say 'You shall not pass!'", would you also ignore putting the relevant text in quotes because you "couldn't hear the quotation marks"?


I was also marked wrong for this, but I think it's better to force us on re-doing a sentence (from now on, knowing that in this sentence the right punctuation is required), than taking the risk of letting someone who hasn't understood the sentence learn wrongly how to place the "nein".

I don't know...for me, who's not a native english speaker, it seems that this sentence can give rise to much confusion, if allowed without the quotation marks. (And there are a lot of non-english-natives here between us) :)

Not sure, though.


you are completely right : here again we have a clear and cut example of Duo's method .This kind of things has been recurring umptee times , I am very critical about the "one answer only " attitude which is the LAW if you choose to jump the given levels in the same section.Fortunately Duo does not teach at American universities.


There are instances when "can not" is useful. Something like "You can go to the shop or you can not go to the shop, it's up to you". Think that "can not" has an element of choice.


In that situation, the "can not" is only a coincidence. The 'not' is modifying 'go'.


What happened to the typical rule, "we ignore punctuation"? I didn't use quotation marks, and I was marked wrong! This seems to be the only sentence requiring punctuation!!! @mizinamo


I agree - cannot is a contraction of can not, as is can't


"Cannot" and "can not" aren't the same. In the former "not" is modifying "can," whereas in the latter the "not" is modifying the verb that comes after.


The dictionary literally defines cannot as "can not."


i think you were marked wrong because you said "nein" instead of "no" . i said "can not" and i was marked right


It was marked as "almost correct" for me, but I still received credit.

Without thinking about it, I usually put "can not" if I don't use a contraction. Why? Because it's the simple negation of can. "Cannot" stands alone (as far as I can remember) as the only negation that concatenates the two words.

There is no such thing as willnot, shallnot, havenot, etc. You either have the verb + not or the contraction won't, shan't, haven't, etc.

So while cannot may be "more correct", it's certainly an outlier here.

Plus, when translating German into English, you always have verb+nicht. Easier when I'm "in the groove" to keep the negation as not+verb. Not to mention the number of times I've been quickly typing and hit the enter key while trying to add an apostrophe. The. Worst.


surely "nein" doesn't have to be in quotation marks for this to be correct - is there possible a reason for this?


I just got it marked wrong for the same reason. Said exactly what was on the solution, with the difference that I didn't used the quotation marks lol sigh...


I'm sorry I can't hear quotation marks.


Sorry if that sounded mean, but I did not realize I needed to include them given that this was a listening activity for me.


Because of the implication.


Came to comment exactly this, bravo sir


"sagen " means "say" . so "aussagen" means "express"~


I just got this wrong because I didn't put quotations marks around the "nein"! Really???


So my answer (which is identical with that given as the correct answer) was marked as incorrect. This is the second time this has happened in the last two days. I like Duolingo but this is just careless - and irritating.


Report it. That's how DuoLingo changes and improves. Posting here is fine, but it's just venting in the end.


4 years later the same problem resists :) I am reporting again with patience :)))) May be a slow improvement but no worry :)


wow - nice streak by the way. Respect!


Thanks! It's kind of like the instructions for living to be 100: eat one apple every day, for a hundred years.


I just forgot the "" and it is wrong?


I wrote "Du kannst nicht nein sagen" which was marked wrong


I wrote "Du kannst nicht nein sagen" which was marked wrong

Duo seems to be rather picky about quotation marks.


Which is annoying as hell since it doesn't give a rat's bottom about full stops, question marks and so on. And even MORE annoying when it marks your answer WRONG because you weren't aware you had to use them!


Wow! Really? I guess you're the first! ..

Oh no. Oops.


How would you say "You can't say no to that"?


Update 1 year later: "You can't say no to that" = "Dazu kannst du nicht nein sagen", not "zu das"


I typed: du kannst nicht nein sagen. I know this does not have correct punctuation. However, Duolingo needs to be consistent - why I am required to use quotation marks here, when I don't even need to properly use umlauts or punctuate any other sentence? My answer should be accepted.


The quotation marks requirement is ridiculous


I don't think the German quotation marks look like that.


Ah, the shady sentences are back!


So skipping apostrophes, punctuation, accents,... in every other sentence is ok. But missing the " makes your answer marked wrong.


I typed it without the quotes and it was marked wrong. Give me a break.


No!! This was my last question on my checkpoint and silly quotations stopped me from passing it! :( They didn't even change it after 7 YEARS


Been there, done that. My deepest sympathy. There are a few like that, usually lurking at the important points. There’s one with quotes about a book title. Watch out for it!


I answered: You cannot say 'no' - why is it incorrect?


The sam thing happened to me. I'll report it!


I wrote it as well and it has been accepted. Maybe it is because of quotation marks. I used double mark: "no" (whatever it is called). You maybe used single one. It is just a theory :)


The double inverted commas have nothing to do with it. Duolingo just needs some education now and again!.


Haha agreed but at least it's free! :)


"Double inverted commas" are called apostrophes, and using them to quote something is incorrect unless the quote is within another quote...


Hi Jetsu-

You might want to clarify that what you said is only true of British English. In American English, it is correct to put quotations in double quotes, and quotations within quotations in single quotes.


Hi Daniel, I'm British, and that was actually the rule I was taught in Britain.


Why not 'You cannot say "nein".' ?


Because you did not translate 'nein'. As simple as that. If you translate a text (i.e. a novel), you translate everything, also the stuff within quotes.


Mine shows that because I don't have quotation marks around nein, it is wrong. How can you tell by listening to the voice that they are there?


You know because the sentence is structured as a quote. Same rules as in English.


Is this not ok without the quotation marks? I could swear we had this sentence a bit earlier, without any quotation marks. And I think it works fine without them.. Help??


The version without the quotation marks was accepted for me.


Lack of punctuation has always been ignored in Duo. Therefore why was I marked as wrong for omitting speech marks?


It does not accept «nein» or »nein«, only "nein" which is ridiculous. It's been a YEAR


I was finally able to get it counted correct when I spelled it out, instead of using the given words. I think it might be because it's wanting the "" around the word nein.


After listening a dozen times or so I know that I type exactly what they are saying but they mark it wrong. Something is off here.

  • 2621

Why does "nicht" not go before "sagen", as in all the other modal examples?


I wrote "Du kannst nicht nein sagen," and it was marked incorrect! Reported.


I wrote 'du kannst nicht nein sagen' and was marked wrong, I guess the 'nein' should have been in apostrophes!


Putting nein into double quotes makes it correct??? Don't think so. rather wrong on the Dulingo side!


First time ever it was marked wrong by mistake.


This is very messed up -- for the listening response I wrote the correct sentence without quotation marks around 'nein' and it was marked as incorrect.


wrote du kannst nicht nein sagen, and it was wrong just because its missing the "" -.- my god


du kannst nicht nein sagen - was marked wrong (listening test), apparently I should have used speech marks? Even though duolingo has never cared about punctuation before.


I answered: Du kannst nicht nein sagen - and got marked wrong. How the **** am I supposed to know to wrap the "nein" in quote marks? The answer was right and should have been marked such.


I had no quotation marks so it was not accepted. It should have been!! Its not meant to question our punctuation, but our German. Not I am a native English speaker and former teacher of English. In the reverse situation I would not expect quotation marks around no, because I was not testing their punctuation, but their English!


counting this as incorrect because of missing quotation marks is old-fashioned.


I was marked wrong only because I didn't use quotation marks in the German sentence. In other places, in the same kind of sentence, Duolingo does not use quotation marks. I just wish Duo would be consistent.


Well i think it is abnormal that in the answer the have to be these "". Because technically it is right to just write nein and not "nein"

  • 1937

I answered: du kannst nicht nein sagen, it said I was wrong because it's: du kannst nicht "nein" sagen.

Why mark the answer as wrong for quotation marks???


Same! It should be right without speech marks


I got it wrong for not putting speech marks even though it was a listening question :(


'Du kannst nicht nein sagen' is marked incorrect. That should not happen for such a minor difference compared to 'Du kannst nicht "nein" sagen'.


whoa answers without ""'s not accepted


As if we're supposed to hear air quotes >:-[


either punctuation everywhere or nowhere please!


Wow, a rare case where Duo insists on correct punctuation.


Having said that, I don't think the quotation marks are obligatory anyway.


Duo wants the "..." quotations. Using „...” quotations doesn't cut it for Duo, no siree.


Ich habe ihm ein Angebot gegeben, das er nicht ausschlagen konnte


Wouldn't "nicht", in this sentence, come right before the infinitive verb; thus making it: "Du kannst "nein" nicht sagen"? Or is "nicht" there simply because it spesifically negates "nein"?


You should always be able to say 'no', it doesn't matter what Duo tells you, you always have the option.


Don't they have the inverted quotation marks, which look like this: „…“?


In proper, edited text, yes, they do. However, keyboards rarely have these marks, so they have to be converted to the proper ones by some program. Duolingo doesn't have one such.




What about the spelling of sagen?


When I answered I wrote it right, here I got it wrong, when I was mad


Oh, so it seems they just wanted the quotation marks, I guess..


Yeah, so do I...It's kind of strange though, it should've been accepted "almost correct" as it usually says when you make a typo :)


    Such problems have been fixed now, as far as I can tell! If it happens again, please submit a report :)


    aargh - I was going to put the speech marks in and then thought that they wouldn't be recognised lol


    My answer: Du kannst nicht nein sagen. And this was a listening one for me... thanks, duo...


    I wrote :Du kannst nich nein sagen. and it marked as wrong.


    I refuse to discuss such a "stupid" thing, please correct immediately!


    To complete this practice, copy and paste the given answer when your correct response has been rejected a few times!


    marked wrong for lack of quotation marks. come on duo


    Wirklich? Between the quotes and can not vs cannot this is thoroughly frustrating. There's more than enough weird stuff to memorize without this. And, stuff like this makes it so much less fun. Especially when this is the one you miss that makes you do it again. :(


    should not be penalised for omitting quotation marks


    Latest bit of fun. Knowing the insistence on quotation marks I put them in and....guess what? Wrong! But the corrected answer was exactly what I put. If I knew how to show my screenshot here, I would. I have not lost my marbles!


    If I knew how to show my screenshot here, I would.

    Screenshots are always good!

    Please upload your screenshot to a website somewhere (e.g. imgur, flickr, Google Docs -- anywhere as long as you can get a URL that lets everyone see the image; you might need to set the link to shareable first). Then post the URL of the image in a comment here.

    Thank you!


    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OK26JCsH0XGmTwl4QmvMY44LQ4ONfy2k/view?usp=drivesdk Being a bear of little brain, I’m trusting this doesn’t give everyone access to my (empty) bank account!


    It looks as if you might have used “smart quotes” instead of "straight quotes" -- the ones in what you typed look like // to me while the ones in the correction look like ||.

    (And strictly speaking, those were the wrong smart quotes for German; German has low-99 ... high-66 as in „nein“ rather than high-66 ... high-99 as in “no” in English.)


    Thank you for the reminder re quotation marks in German.. Given that this is such a rare instance of Duo noticing punctuation of any sort, I doubt whether the actual format is all that relevant. Few people here will have instant access to low sixty-sixes, I imagine. We are learners, after all. It just seems odd that with so many people commenting on this question, a solution has not yet been found. The only way I have found to actually complete this exercise is to get this question wrong and then copy and paste from the “correct” answer, otherwise it’s impossible to get to the end.


    DISGUSTING. I failed because of no speech marks? Absolutely appauling


    welche ist wahr? du kannst nicht nein sagen oder du kannst nein nicht sagen.


    Why isn't "you can't say 'nein' " accepted....?


    How would one say "can you not say no?"


    When do you put nein at the end of a sentence? I never know where it goes.


    The audio clearly says nichts, but the answer requires nicht. I think the audio needs to be corrected.


    Agreed. I listened it to it several times because I thought it should be nicht, but the audio very clearly sounds like nichts. I reported it.


    I don't think it sounds like nichts. She is just enunciating the final t and I think most people are mistaking that for an s. There may be an argument for her enunciating it too much, but I don't think it's wrong.

    Audio on Pons:

    The first link sounds far closer to the Duolingo audio to me than the second. I don't hear any sort of z sound at the end of nicht to make me think it's nichts.


    Interesting. On my computer, it sounds more like the second audio. It may depend on the quality of our different audio systems. I'll try it on some different devices and with earbuds when I get a chance.


    You may be onto something. I only tried it on one device myself but it may be hardware dependent.


    "You can't say no to that" is in German: "Sie können (or du kannst) dazu nicht nein sagen. Or: "Dazu (or zu dem) können Sie (kannst du) nicht nein sagen.


    So what is the purpose of the quotation marks?


    Because like in English, you put spoken text in quotes. It's what separates it from the rest of the sentence. If it were longer and not just "no", but instead "No way, Jose!", you would proceed to do the same thing. The sentence would become 'You can't say "No way, Jose!"' Whether it is one word or a full sentence should be of no consequence.

    I've never seen a conjugation of say (i.e. say, said, says) that didn't have it's corresponding text in quotes.


    Yes, I think I understand your point, but the whole sentence is in quotes, with "nein" in quotes in the middle. The English translation only has "no" in quotes, which I can understand. But what is the reason the whole sentence is also in quotes?


    Oh pardon, I couldn't put my comment in the right place. But my purpose of using quotation marks was to keep the translations and my notes separate. Should I let that?


    Using one set of quotation marks ["] looks out of place. Normally quotation marks always have a set a the beginning of a quote and a set at the end of a quote if quotation marks are used at all. Consequently, you should have added a set at the end of each translation or omitted them entirely. I do think it looks better with full quotation marks.

    Here is what you wrote, formatted more appropriately:

    "You can't say no to that" in German is "Sie können (or du kannst) dazu nicht nein sagen" or "Dazu (or zu dem) können Sie (kannst du) nicht nein sagen."

    That all being said, I think that the comments in response to your original comment, GeoSchribs, actually stem from Duolingo's punctuation rather than the punctuation in your comment.

    {Also, I think you meant to say "Should I leave it?" in your last comment rather than "Should I let that?"; I'm guessing that the multi-faceted German verb "lassen" is to blame for the awkward English wording.}


    Because of the implication...


    had it correct also but they marked it incorrect


    I wrote, "Du kannst nicht nein sagen." It marked it wrong. I reported that it should be counted as correct; it may have counted it wrong, because I did not use apostrophes around "nein"??


    Marked wrong for not including inverted commas around "nein"!!


    Why in "Du kannst nicht nein sagen." (You cannot say no.) are kannst and nicht next to each other, but in "Ich kann es dir nicht sagen." (I cannot tell you it.) kann and nicht are separated? In each case they mean cannot.


    In German, isn't the first double quotation marks inverted: „Like this?"


    It's low 99 at the beginning, high 66 at the end, „like this“.

    (Unfortunately, some fonts - tuned for English, I suppose - make the closing 66 look like \\ when the should look more like // )


    'musn't' comes into this somewhere surely?


    My answer has been correct twice now


    My translation was correct but the computer said it wasn’t! My first language is English and I must admit sometimes the English translations are not correct so this leads me to wonder if all the German sentences are correct too!!


      It would help greatly if you click "My answer should have been accepted" under the report options. That submits it for review. Alternatively, if you want to write a comment about it here, please copy and paste your response in its entirety. I understand your frustration when things don't work as they should, but it's hard to guess what happened when we don't have the details!


      It still does not accept the answer without quotation marks around "nein". I have taken a screen shot but do not know what to do with it. Also I cannot report it as the reporting button only gives 3 options, and "my answer should be accepted" is not one of them.


      My answer was written in German and it as word for word correct with the ‘right’ answer. I am confused.com!!


      If memory serves, I think at one point there was a glitch with this sentence, having to do with the quotation marks. I think the first and last ones were removed, now I see they are back again. Possibly that is another issue. I also see the English version only has quotes on the "no"...


      Am I the only one who heard: Du kannst nichts "nein" sagen? I played it a few times on slow just to be sure and that is what I heard. Of course it was marked wrong.


      I would say: You can't refuse.


      Should be correct without quotation marks


      So I am using a word bank and have listened to the sentence over and over and from what I have to choose from, I answer Du kannst nicht nein sagen. I am told I am incorrect. I don't have anything else available in my word bank and the answer is exactly as written above (without quotes-which I don't have in word bank). I have no option in 'report' for 'my answer should be accepted'. Is it just me?


      That's what happened to me as well. The only way I could get it right was to type it in by hand, thus including the quotation marks. I'm certain it's those quotation marks that's making this occur.


      Me as well. Thanks to reading your reply I got it to work. I see a mod looked at this a week ago but maybe immediately went on holidays.


      The correct german was keyed in and rejected. duo needs to fix this!!!


      Duolingo doesn't seem to keep up with fixing the various reported problems. With all their employees, that should be a priority, I believe.


      Please post a link to a screenshot.

      Vague comments about "I wrote the right answer" or "there was an error" are not helpful at all.


      Once again I have been asked to write in German what I have heard and what I heard is "Do last night be in sagen". Filling up refuses to accept that. What can I do?


      John, your question doesn't make any sense. Want to take another stab at it?


      I was asked to write in German what I heard from the audible file. What I heard was clearly "Du kannst nicht nein sagen". Using the word bank I did just that. Duolinguo refused to accept that as correct. Eventually I learned that I had to use the keyboard and put the word" nein" in quotation marks. This is the only time I have seen Duolinguo require punctuation marks.

      By the way, I have no idea why my previous post was so garbled in transmission.


      Likely you have your autocorrect enabled, and sometimes the computer autocorrects to something other than what we had intended...Particular difficulties when trying to type in a different language...

      [deactivated user]

        I got it wrong because I didn't put quotation marks around the nein -_-


        Seeing as Duolingo doesn't care about grammatical syntax in any other scenario, it is absurd that I need to add quotation marks around "neun" to have it marked correct. This needs to be changed. I have flagged it, but there was not an appropriate box to explain what my issue was.


        I just got this wrong as a listening exercise when the only difference between my answer and the "correct" one are quotation marks

        How in the hell am I supposed to know on a listening exercise that quotation marks are mandatory, especially when punctuation has never been relevant anywhere else?


        Please read existing comments before adding something that has already been mentioned several times. 171 comments is sufficient...


        Why not "You cannot tell me "no"". Seems like the dative "me" fits this just fine.


        Why not "You cannot tell me "no"".

        Because that's not what the German sentence means.

        Most likely, it refers to someone who always likes being helpful and never refuses when someone asks them a favor. So they "can't say 'no' (to anybody)".

        There's nothing about "me" in the German sentence.

        Seems like the dative "me" fits this just fine.

        Translations have to be not merely grammatical and sensical; they have to convey the same thought as the original as well. So you can't add ideas that are not in the original.


        not using the quotation marks makes one wrong : es ist völlig idiotisch und ungerecht ! Now I'm quite used to Duo's "so called" learning ways !!! One I got regular ads about Duo's excellence in learning foreign languages , they claimed that Duo was far better than American universities at learning languages to people.At the university things are at least more open , and f


        not using the quotation marks makes one wrong : es ist völlig idiotisch und ungerecht ! Now I'm quite used to Duo's "so called" learning ways !!! One I got regular ads about Duo's excellence in learning foreign languages , they claimed that Duo was far better than American universities at learning languages to people.At the university things are at least more open , and f

        So one set of required quotation marks on a site with multiple languages managed by multiple contributors makes this site awful? Because what, you lost a whole 10 seconds of your time?! That's the epitome of first world problems.

        It's always easy to complain at free things. Clearly you've managed to get to 25 in both German and Spanish, so it must not have been as terrible as you allude to if you made it that far.

        What I'm more concerned about are your English language skills. Have you checked out the English tree? I haven't, but I'm sure it's pretty good, just like MOST of the courses on here. Sure there are problems, but you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater ...


        this answer wasn't accepted. what's wrong?


        i wrote du kannst nicht nein sagen and it was wrong. Weird.


        i wrote du kannst nicht nein sagen and it was wrong.

        Duo expects the quotation marks: Du kannst nicht "nein" sagen.


        Achso, danke für die Antwort


        What the heck! I got it wrong because I didn't put quotation marks. Duo, you need to get on top of that.


        Nope, they're needed! Would you say that they're superflouous in English? The sentence implies that the person doesn't have the ability to say "no". Could be something wrong with his speech. "He can't say "no"!" In that case, the quotes are needed, for example. "He can't say "no", so they are giving him speech therapy."


        Utterly ridiculous to be marked wrong for not using quotation marks.


        Not true, see my post above yours! :-)


        How am I supposed to know quotation marks are required. It’s just a statement.


        wrong.. du kannst nicht nein sagen is what we hear. needs to be accepted.


        No native English speaker would feel quotation marks are necessary in this sentence.


        2.1.2021 Ich habe den Satz OHNE Anführungszeichen geschrieben und er wurde akzeptiert.


        obviously the ".." must be included otherwise its wrong. (stupid).


        This is quite possibly the worst exercise in this course. Being marked wrong for "not being able to hear the quotation mark" is utterly stupid and not conducive to learning (note: I got this as a "type what you hear" exercise).


        I was dinged for not placing "nein" in quotation marks, but the way the quotation marks are used is not even correct for German. If we should also be learning correct punctuation (I have no problem with that; after all, punctuation is also part of the language), shouldn't it then be spelled „nein“ ?


        Du kannst nicht nein sagen. Why is that wrong without inverted commas ???? !!!!!


        Du kannst nicht „nein" sagen.

        If it demands quote marks at least it recognises German ones.


        Absolutely bogus that quotations marks Must surround "nein" in the challenge. Where did this come from? It is not mandatory in written German.


        I wrote: du kannst nicht nein sagen. It wasn't accepted because I did not have quotation marks around "nein." I often omit punctuation and it is always accepted. This is an odd bit of grammatical snippiness.


        Quotation marks still incorrectly being used.


        So tell me, Duolingo, how de heck am I supposed to listen the quotation marks? Is the phrase fundamentally wrong or is its sense by any means changed when I do not use the quotation marks? Please, do not make this any harder.


        Sorry, how am i meant to know that you wanted nein in quotations – correct us, but dont mark us wrong


        Since when do we bother with "Quotation marks". This is silly.


        Ridiculous. How is one supposed to know that punctuation is suddenly required?


        'Du kannst nicht nein sagen' marked wrong!


        Duo has gone insane. Marked incorrect for not using quotation marks.

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