"You do not have to eat it."

Translation:Du musst es nicht essen.

March 24, 2013

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How would one say "you must not eat it" in German??

After all, in English, there is a BIG difference between "don't have to" and "must not"

How does one make this distinction in German?

[deactivated user]
    • You don't have to eat it. = Sie müssen es nicht essen.

    • You mustn't eat it. = Sie dürfen es nicht essen.



    Thank you so much for the link and the clarification!

    • 643

    How about the placement of nicht? It still seems arbitrary and variable to me.


    Generally nicht will go after all objects (such as es, mich, dir, Ihnen etc). However "du musst es nicht essen" and "du musst nicht es essen" are both acceptable in spoken German.


    Yo do not have to eat it = Don't eat it if you don't want to. I thought the proper way to say it would be = "Sie sollen es nicht essen".

    I was under the impression that "Sie müssen es nicht essen" states a command/prohibition = You are not allowed to eat it.

    [deactivated user]

      That's not correct. "nicht müssen" and "must not" are false friends.

      Sie müssen es nicht essen = You don't have to eat it

      Sie sollen es nicht essen = You're not supposed to eat it

      Sie dürfen es nicht essen = You mustn't eat it / You're not allowed to eat it


      Thanks christian for your comments. And very helpful sentences. So the modal verb that most closely resembles the English "must to" would actually be "dürfen".

      [deactivated user]

        Not quite. Only "must not" and "nicht müssen" are false friends. The positive forms "must" and "müssen" do actually match.

        Sie müssen es essen = You must eat it / You have to eat it

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