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  5. "I don't have a fence."

"I don't have a fence."

Translation:Ich habe keinen Zaun.

June 11, 2017



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.)


Wand is also wall and Mauer is also 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).


Why can't someone say "Ich habe ein Zaun nicht"?


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."

( https://www.lsa.umich.edu/german/hmr/101/Mehr_Vorsprung_Grammatik/Kapitel_2.html )

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.


ohh I see what you're saying. I have no idea! Let me know if you try it.


I would if I were taking the course myself rather than just browsing the forums for whether anybody has questions that need answering ;)


why not ich habe nicht einen Zaun accepteble as better grammar


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:

  1. 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”.
  2. 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]”.


What makes a word masculine?


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.


warum nicht: Zaun habe ich nicht?


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…)”.


Ich habe ein Zaun nicht. Why is it wrong?


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"


I so struggle with ein/einen and kein/keinen...

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