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Nie and Niemals

What is the difference between "Nie" and "Niemals" ?

February 12, 2014



They're mostly interchangeable. "nie" is more common and "niemals" is more emphatic.


E.g.: Exclaiming "Niemals!" as a statement of disbelief or refusal.


Vielen Danke! Nimm mein Lingot!


Thank you so much for your clear and simple explaination.


So, when I was asked to translate “He is never sad” and I put “Er ist nice traurig” and it was marked by Duolingo as wrong, is there a reason for this?


I search for this too and this is what I found:

nie : never, at no time

niemals : never ever, no way, not for a moment

nimmer : no longer, no more

Martin S answered 1 year ago

Nie and niemals both mean never and are in general exchangeable. Niemals has sometimes a more emotional factor it's in a way an enhanced "nie" then meaning "never ever" e.g. "Küss mich!" sagte der Frosch. "Niemals!" antwortete die Prinzessin. "Vergiss' nicht, du darfst diese Tür niemals öffnen" (Dont forget: You must never ever open that door).

There's also certain phrases like "Sag' niemals nie" (Never say never (again)) where you should not exchange them. Also sometimes in poems or lyrics, you cannot exchange one for the other as you will become a syllable short or too long - but that concerns only the length of the line not the meaning.

But in general those two words are exchangeable.

"Nimmer" is the negation of immer (always) so it's the same as "nie" but it is not used with that meaning anymore as it is outdated and replaced by "nie". Nevertheless it survived in phrases (nie und nimmer = never ever, under no circumstances) or in some composite words. E.g. "auf Nimmerwiedersehen" which is the negation of the common "Auf Wiedersehen" and expresses that you do not want to see that person anymore after you have parted. But "nimmer" is still widely used in southern German/Austrian colloquial speech in the meaning of "nicht mehr" (not anymore). e.g. if you ask for a discontinued item in a shop you might get the answers: "Des gibt's leider nimmer" (Das gibt es leider nicht mehr = I'm sorry that item is not available anymore).


In most situations they mean the same. If you're not sure just use nie because niemals sounds a bit formal. Niemals is sometimes a bit directed to the future. For example: Ich gehe nie in die Schule = I never go to school. Ich gehe niemals in die Schule = I never go to school (and I have no intention to ever go)



Taylor swift told "never say never", does it mean "niemals sagen/sag nie"?

Just out of curiosity :)


That would be "Sag niemals nie!". This is an imperative so the verb takes first position. This idiom has been used the German movie title for "Never Say Never Again".



We should all use Taylor Swift as an example when we think about new words to use in German hahahaha

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