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"He will not stay longer than four days."

Translation:Er wird nicht länger als vier Tage bleiben.

January 3, 2018

47 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TimK77777

Why "nicht" can't go before "bleiben"? (Er wird länger als vier Tage nicht bleiben)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

What's being negated is länger als vier Tage or perhaps länger als vier Tage bleiben - I think that's why the nicht has to come first.

Your word order might work in poetry, but not in everyday language, where it would sound a bit as if you're saying: "What he is going to do for longer than four days is: not stay."

It sounds a bit odd to me to use a negative verb like that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Luis_Jalabert

I just made the same mistake after spending some time trying to figure out where the "nicht" goes... It gets very difficult sometimes figuring out where the negation goes, is there an easy way to know?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef

If it is the verb (or the complete sentence) that is negated, the "nicht" goes to the end of the sentence (or at least close to the end; participles and infinitives are still following).
If it is a specific part of the sentence that is negated, the "nicht" stands directly in front of this part.
Note: if that part is a direct object and it doesn't have a definite article (but either an indefinite one or no article at all) then "nicht" is not used at all, but you need a form of "kein".

Sometimes there are several possibilities, depending on what you want to emphasize.

Examples:
"I don't give him the flower" - "Ich gebe ihm die Blume nicht". Usual place of "nicht" at the end of the sentence.
"I didn't give him the flower" - "Ich habe ihm die Blume nicht gegeben". Close to the end, only followed by a participle.
"I will not give him the flower" - "Ich werde ihm die Blume nicht geben". Close to the end, followed by an infinitive.
"I do not give him a flower" - "Ich gebe ihm keine Blume". Direct object with indefinite article --> use "kein".
"I do not give him the flower today": depends on what you want to stress:
- "Ich gebe ihm heute die Blume nicht" negates the complete sentence.
- "Ich gebe ihm die Blume nicht heute". not today (but maybe tomorrow)
"Ich gebe ihm nicht die Blume, aber stattdessen einen Kuchen": not the flower, but something else instead.
"Ich gebe die Blume nicht ihm, sondern seiner Frau": not him, but his wife.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/coto.i
  • 2490

Your summary is very helpful. Thank you!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NivensMcTwisp

This is what my friend means when she says German is very exacting. At least the word order seems somewhat relaxed, depending on the exact meaning.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tom442002

Thanks and great answer--BUT .. It sounds like German has the same problem as English with THIS sentence. The meaning here is "stay -- NOT longer than", but most of us would say, "not stay longer than.." If we change the verb, it gets clearer: "He will be happy for not longer than a day." Compare that to, "He will not be happy for longer than a day." In English, we get sloppy with such things (well, at least in American English!).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef

In German you don't have a choice. There doesn't exist a valid variant with an equivalent of "no". It is has to be "not" ("nicht"), even if you have "no longer" in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bekir978479

Er wird nicht mehr als vier Tage bleiben. Surly to be accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef

I have to admit that I myself might say that sometimes. But strictly speaking it is not correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DynamicFox

Why this answer: “Er wird nicht länger bleiben als vier Tage” is not correct? I think it should be accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fane586459

The future tense has the infinitive of the verb in the last place in a sentence so I think you can't put it like that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef

usually the rule is like that. But in cases like this one it is indeed possible to put the adverbial phrase (of time or manner) at the very end.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dimitri225458

The word order is incorrect. The verb goes to the end in this case. It would be understood nevertheless, but it isn't conceived as fluid and native.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef

yes, report it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mark4950

What about nicht mehr instead of nichr länger?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef

You could find that in colloquial language. But strictly spreaking it is not correct. "nicht mehr" translates to "no more" in the sense of that something has ended. "nicht länger" is a direct translation of "no longer" and speaks about the length of a time period.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ishay40hours

How would one translate "I will eat no more than three apples." into German?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

How would one translate "I will eat no more than three apples." into German?

Ich werde nicht mehr als drei Äpfel essen.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ishay40hours

Thanks again for your prompt reply, mizinamo. I highly appreciate it. So "nicht mehr" can also mean "no more" in the sense of limiting a quantity.

So, just to be clear, in the case of time duration, only "nicht länger" is acceptable, but never "nicht mehr"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

So "nicht mehr" can also mean "no more" in the sense of limiting a quantity.

I'd rather say that nicht mehr als can be used for "no(t) more than" in the sense of limiting a quantity.

So, just to be clear, in the case of time duration, only "nicht länger" is acceptable, but never "nicht mehr"?

Yes, I would agree.

nicht mehr would be fine for "not any more", though, at least for me: Wir fahren nicht mehr in Urlaub, weil wir es uns nicht mehr leisten können. "We don't go on holidays any more because we can't afford it any more."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fraumitmot

This is perfectly fine with just "bleibt" instead of "wird...bleiben" and counted against me unnecessarily. grrrr


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Brooke622602

Why is it Tage and not Tagen?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Why is it Tage and not Tagen?

Because there is nothing here to require the dative case.

Tagen is the dative plural form, Tage is nominative plural, genitive plural, or accusative plural.

In this case, it's accusative (accusative of time: vier Tage "for four days").


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Brooke622602

Danke. Aber was ist ein Beispiel mit Tagen?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Danke. Aber was ist ein Beispiel mit Tagen?

When you need the dative case, e.g. vor drei Tagen "three days ago".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Brooke622602

OOOo that's why I was confused. Danke für deine Hilfe!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ms_Spaatkauf

For those of you who might be struggling with the placement of 'nicht' in a sentence, as I am, I found an article that explains it simply and clearly: https://learnoutlive.com/german-negation-nicht/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gregory146754

Will you teach the word order? Is it completely inflexible?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef

It is not completely flexible.
Concerning this sentence, several rules are applicable:

1.) The conjugated (= main) verb must be in second position. Here: "wird".
2.) Infinitives go to the end of the sentence: Here "bleiben".
3.) phrases that belong together stay together: Here: you can't separate "länger als vier Tage".
4.) The negation word "nicht" directly precedes the part of the sentence that is negated.

Still some options remain. But usually the subject starts the sentence. This is "er" hier.
This is not a hard rule, but the most common variant. You can, however, put different things in the front position, if you want to particularly stress them.
The only such option here is "Nicht länger als vier Tage wird er bleiben". This is grammatically possible, but very rare.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tom442002

But not surprisingly also works in English (although sounds like B movie drama): "Not longer than four days will he stay!"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/john204

Can you use 'wie' instead of 'als' here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

Not in standard German.

Many native speakers do use wie after comparisons of inequality, but it's not considered standard and we do not accept it on this course.

To those who speak the standard language, größer wie das Haus sounds as wrong as "bigger as the house" would in English: after a comparison of inequality, it has to be "bigger than" (größer als), not "bigger as" (größer wie).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salmaibrah3

Cab someone explain word order in German, this is so hard


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef

This sentence is not too complicated:
Let's start with "Er wird nicht bleiben" ("He will not stay"). This is a standard word order. The conjugated verb ("wird") gets the second position, which is mandatory, "nicht" goes to the end of the sentence, only followed by participles and infinitives, here "bleiben".
The main structure "Er wird ... ... bleiben" remains stable, the only thing changed in the full sentence is that "nicht" ("not") is exchanged for the more specific "nicht länger als vier Tage" ("no(t) longer than four days"), so it becomes "Er wird nicht länger als vier Tage bleiben".
For Germans this is quite straightforward. Better don't try to mimic English word order by translating word by word, but try to directly "think German".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/salmaibrah3

Thank you so much for your help


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tim952328

Brilliant explanation.

The mist surrounding the mysteries of where to bung 'nicht' in a German sentence is starting to clear a little (at least , I hope so).

You are a gentleman and a skolar, Sir!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Olle145993

Er wird nicht länger bleiben als vier Tage. Why is that wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Luciana724074

Why not "Er wird nicht länger als vier Tage stehen"? Duo considered it wrong...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/fehrerdef

It is wrong. "stehen" does not mean "stay". It means "stand".

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