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https://www.duolingo.com/Maggie834998

Geen, niet

I keep getting them mixed up. When do I use geen and when do i use niet?

4 months ago

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Izim_M
Izim_M
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You can translate "geen" as "no" in English, and "niet" as "not".

For example: "I have no cats" - "Ik heb geen katten"

"I do not have the cat" - "Ik heb de kat niet"

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Semeltin
Semeltin
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"Not a(n)" should also be "geen".

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tom948490

As a general rule, whenever you want to negate a sentence in dutch which is talking about an object you always use "geen" unless you're talking about a specific object.

Examples:

I am not a doctor = Ik ben geen arts

I am not that doctor = ik ben niet die arts

I don't have a cat = Ik heb geen kat

I don't have the cat = Ik heb de kat niet

No letters came yesterday = Geen brieven kwamen gisteren

Your letter didn't come yesterday = Jouw brief is gisteren niet gekomen

If you're an English speaker, you can think of it like this: If I COULD use "no" instead of "not" to make this sentence in English, then I SHOULD use "geen" instead of "niet" toi make it in Dutch.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MosesMc

Good explanation. But "Ik drink koffie," in english would be "I drink coffee," which would become "I do not drink coffee". So according to you thesis I cannot use "no" and must use niet. However the right statement in dutch as stated by @SaskiaDaan below is, "Ik drink geen koffie." What's your explanation on this? Enlighten me.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SaskiaDaan

It is not possible to completely follow the translation of niet = not en geen = no. The rule as I gave below is complete: so no particle before the noun (no 'de/het') - GEEN, the particle 'een' before the noun - GEEN; no particle or 'een' before the noun but also a preposition - NIET and in all other cases NIET (as a teacher of Dutch forforeigners my students and I have tried a lot of examples with translating but it does not work)

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Tom948490

Well, the first part of the thesis holds true. Coffee in your example is a reference to coffee in general, if you wanted to tell someone in dutch you weren't drinking a specific cup of coffee you would say:

Ik drink die coffee niet - I am not drinking that coffee

Also, you can say "I drink no coffee" in english, it's not idiomatic but it's gramatically correct. It's like you could say "I am no doctor" in English, but would normally say "I am not a doctor".

But anyways, the rule I posted is just the guideline I use, it's not meant to be a bulletproof statement without exceptions :)

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/xMerrie
xMerrie
Mod
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Maybe this page will help you, too: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/3734833

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alex437633

Thanks Izim I was wondering the same thing

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SaskiaDaan

In general Geen is used in combination with nouns.

Overview: Subject with 'een' or notinhg in front of it ---- use geen

ik heb EEN auto - ik heb geen auto; ik drink koffie - ik drink geen koffie.

BUT when there is a preposition before it: ---- use niet:

ik zit IN een auto - ik zit niet in een auto Ik houd VAN koffie - ik houd niet van koffie.

IN ALL OTHER CASES USE NIET

4 months ago