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Negatives (nicht and where to place it)

Quick question. Currently taking notes from Duolingo on the negative lesson, it says ""Negating the verb: "Sie trinken nicht" (They/You do not drink)."" does that mean you can only use nicht to negate "trink"

(im guessing not but i need to know)

February 26, 2018



"kein" negates a noun that is not specific and would use "ein" in the positive. "Ich habe kein Hund." = "I do not have a dog." or "I have no dog."

"nicht" can negate a specific noun that would use "der", "die" or "das" or verbs, or adjectives or adverbs.

If we were talking about a specific dog, perhaps we just had the dog that was wandering around and were going to bring it to someone to try to find its owner, but now it escaped. "Ich habe nicht den Hund." (der changes to "den" for a direct object.) = "I do not have the dog."

"Ich bin nicht fertig." = "I am not ready." "Ich bin nicht traurig." = "I am not sad."



In English we could emphasize the beginning pronoun, to mean not you or they but hinting that someone else does. In German, you would not do that with this sentence.

You could say: " Nicht Karl meinte ich, sondern Karin." = "I did not believe Karl, but I did believe Karin."

Also, be careful with expressions: "Not you again!" comes out as "du schon wieder!"

"Are you coming or not?" could be "Sie kommen doch, oder?" "Do you have it or not?" could be "Sie haben es, nicht wahr?" or they could use the other form "Sie haben es doch, oder?"





Ich habe keinen Hund

Ich habe den Hund nicht

Not you again! can also be Nicht du schon wieder!

oder? and oder nicht? are virtually the same

Nicht Karl meinte ich is correct, but less usual than Ich meinte nicht Karl. They both mean "I didn't mean Karl", not "I didn't believe Karl".

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