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Confused with nicht's placement

Which of the following is correct

Mein Mann isst nicht immer or Mein Mann isst immer nicht.

Thanks in advance.

March 17, 2018



depents on what you want to say:

mein mann isst nicht immer: my husband does'nt always eat.

mein mann isst immer nicht : my husband always does'nt eat. (resp. my husband never eats : mein Mann isst nie)


Although the second sentence is a little weird. If you want to express that "Mein Mann isst nie" sounds a lot better.


It's weird, yes, and I wouldn't teach it to those who learn German, but it's not uncommon where I live. "Mein Mann lässt immer die Tür offen, mein Mann trinkt immer zu wenig, mein Mann isst immer nicht, mein Mann ist immer nicht fertig, wenn ich nach Hause komme, ..."

To me, it feels like those sentences are answers to the question, "What does he always do?" "He always --- leaves the door open, he always --- doesn't eat (i.e., he doesn't eat much at meals)."

To me, I think "Mein Mann isst nie" sounds more like he actually never eats anything, while "Mein Mann isst immer nicht" sounds like, "I'm exasperated because at those opportunities when my husband ought to eat properly, too often he doesn't eat as much as I want him to".

Accordingly: "Mein Mann isst nie Fisch" = he actually doesn't; "Mein Mann isst immer keinen Fisch" = "Every year we attend this buffet event, and my husband can never be persuaded / never ends up trying the fish, and a) I really wonder why / it's irksome, b) that's why it's nothing special at all if he doesn't eat the fish this year either"


for young people (like teenagers) it does sound weird but people older than 35 or people who are trying to give a good impression speak like that.


Well, I've never heard it. But anyway, thanks for the compliment, I'm afraid I'm past 35 myself ;))


ich bin noch keine 30 und habe es schon oft gehört :-) aber ich habe auch einen Hang zu komplizierten Ausdrucksweisen und liebe rhetorische Spielereien.


Und für mich klingt es, so leid es mir tut, konstruiert und grammatikalisch einfach falsch. Man versteht es, aber mehr auch nicht.

Vielleicht gibt es ja eine Gegend, in der dieser Ausdruck im lokalen Dialekt gebräulich ist.

Ansonsten müssen wir wohl konstatieren, dass unser Sprachgefühl hier deutlich auseinander geht.


Vermutlich liegt es am Sprachgefühl. Es ist wohl eine Frage des Stils.


the question was which is correct and the person did not tell what he or she wantet to express. and even though one is rarly used it is not wrong so i just told her/ him what both of the statements meant.

  • 1595

Hi, there's a short overview in the new Tips and Notes of the "Not" Skill (web version only). If you want, tell me if it helped, or how I could improve it to make it clearer :)

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