"I don't have a fence."
Translation:Ich habe keinen Zaun.
Why is it keinen and not kein?
bonus question, if instead of Zaun we had a feminine noun, would it be keine?
Zaun is masculine and the masculine accusative form is keinen. kein would only be correct if the noun were neuter (at least in a position where accusative is required like here).
As for your bonus question: That’s correct. For example: Ich habe keine Mauer. (I don’t have a wall.)
Correct. We distinguish between walls which divide an inside from an outside or rooms within a building (Wand) and walls which stand free and simply serve to divide a bigger area into distinct parts (Mauer).
1) The fence is the direct object, hence in accusative case – and the article needs to correspond: ... einen Zaun...
2) "If what you are negating is a noun, "nicht" or "kein" (or "keine," "keinen" etc.) will precede the noun. Use "kein" if what you are negating is a noun preceded by ein/eine."
3) If you say Ich habe nicht einen Zaun..., many German speakers will expect you to continue with ... , sondern (number > 1), because one would take the nicht to negate the number (which can look like the indefinite article) and not the (article +) noun.
If you say"ich habe nicht einen Zaun" you are saying something like "I don't have even a single fence" like "I need to install ten fences, but I don't even have a single one
I wonder, does it accept “Ich habe keinen Hehler” (Hehler being “fence” as in “person who buys and sells stolen goods”)?^^"
In English the two words are homonyms, but they aren't in German, so you can't... Every language wil have different homonyms.
Exactly, so “Ich habe keinen Hehler” should be a valid translation of English “I have no fence” (although in the other direction it is unambiguous as you said). But I’m not sure if the moderators thought about that possibility.
I would if I were taking the course myself rather than just browsing the forums for whether anybody has questions that need answering ;)
nicht ein (in whatever case) is almost totally non-existent in German; we use kein (in that case). You can do the same thing in English as well, although it sounds somewhat antiquated: “I have no fence.”
There are only two cases where I might say “nicht ein” and both of them involve unusual emphasis due to special contexts:
- If I want to stress the number for contrast: “Ich habe nicht einen Zaun, sondern zwei.” (I have not one fence but two.) – But this is not a possible interpretation in our sentence above because the English version has “a” rather than “one”.
- If I want to put special emphasis on the noun for contrast: “Ich habe nicht einen Zaun, sondern eine Mauer.” (I have not a fence but a wall.)
And even then nicht einen is only obligatory in the first of these contexts. In the second, even though nicht einen is acceptable, I would still prefer keinen.
TL;DR: It’s safest to just use kein instead of nicht ein at all times and reserve nicht ein for when you want to say “not one [but another number]”.
the gender :-)
Every word has a gender (masculine, feminine, neuter). There is generally no rule why which word is which gender. You just need to learn it together with the word.
You’re missing an article there: einen Zaun. If you add it, it should be accepted, though this word order places a lot of emphasis on Zaun: “I don’t have a fence* (but I do have…)”.
I have the same question. I wrote: Ich have einen Zaun, nicht. (Used einen for Masculine Zaun) Why is nich t at the end wrong?
Sentences with an indefinite accusative object (i.e. with an indefinite article or no article at all) are negated using "kein". So it is:
- "Ich habe einen Zaun" --> "Ich habe keinen Zaun"
- "Ich habe den Zaun" --> "Ich habe den Zaun nicht"