https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dessert-Rose

A Simple Way to Know When to Use "Kein"

Hi everyone,

I just want to share a simple way to know when kein is used.

Let's take the sentence Ich habe ein Pferd as an example. Add a K in front of Ein, and you get Kein: Ich habe kein Pferd. - it's negated!

The same goes for any other form of Ein: Ein, Eine, Einen, Einer, etc.

Du hast einen Apfel. - Du hast keinen Apfel.
Wir haben eine Katze. - Wir haben keine Katze.

(This also goes for the Adjective Declension endings (as pointed out by gmbka:)

Du hast einen Apfel. - Du hast keinen Apfel.

(Please remember that kein is used in other ways as well:)

Wir haben viel Milch. - Wir haben keine Milch
Es macht viel Spaß. - Es macht keinen Spaß

(If you speak or are learning Dutch or Afrikaans, you can see kein as equal to geen.)

Have fun! AP4418

August 9, 2018

27 Comments


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

This is helpful, thank you. But please don't forget the accusative endings: du hast einen Apfel, du hast keinen Apfel, es macht keinen Spass.

August 9, 2018

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

also the feminine ending: keine Milch

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dessert-Rose

Check out the post, I edited it. Is that correct?

August 10, 2018

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

No, not your first sentences. Would appreciate those to be updated too, they had me questioning my own understanding of German haha

August 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dessert-Rose

Thanks! Did it.

August 12, 2018

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

hi Dessert-Rose, Thanks, an interesting take on it. It made me wonder if you could adapt it for plurals... my first thought was:

i have a hundred apples... but that's: Ich habe hundert Äpfel - the ein has disappeared, so there's nothing to stick the k onto... then i thought: i have a dozen apples = ich habe ein Dutzend Äpfel... so you could add a k to the ein and discard the Dutzend.... BUT that still leaves you with the wrong ending (as mentioned by gmbka)... so then i thought what about: i have your apples ! = Ich habe deine Äpfel. (assuming you choose the correct ending for dein, then all you need to do is replace the d with a k)...
so:
nominative: your apples = deine Äpfel > keine Äpfel,

accusative: I have your apples = Ich habe deine Äpfel > Ich habe keine Äpfel,

dative: I help your apples = Ich helfe deinen Äpfeln > Ich helfe keinen Äpfeln, (i know not why they need help..)

genitive: the taste of your apples = der Geschmack deiner Äpfel > der Geschmack keiner Äpfel. (that one is a bit zen)

I'm just trying to put off doing the lawn... oh well...
have a great day,

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dessert-Rose

(Haha, love your humor!) Thanks for pointing that out! Thanks for giving me your take on it, it makes viel sence!

August 10, 2018

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

Love this comment and thanks for helping me feel better about working on Duo when the dishes need to be done. Lol

August 11, 2018

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

i have a hundred apples... but that's: Ich habe hundert Äpfel - the ein has disappeared, so there's nothing to stick the k onto...<

Not really. "hundert" in this usage is a short form for "einhundert", so the "ein" is implicitly there - but it is misleading.

Negating that actually would be: Ich habe keine hundert Äpfel. (But maybe 50).

then i thought: i have a dozen apples = ich habe ein Dutzend Äpfel... so you could add a k to the ein and discard the Dutzend.... BUT that still leaves you with the wrong ending<

Both cases leave you with the wrong ending. The reason for that is that the a countable amount (einhundert, zweitaused, etc.) is treated like an adjective (That is why it is not capitalised). Therefore the "kein/keine" negates the adjective and grammatically follows the noun, not the negated adjective. Consider this:

Ich habe grüne Äpfel. Ich habe keine grünen Äpfel. (But maybe red ones.)

Now the example with "ein Dutzend" is different, because "Dutzend" is a proper noun and not a (cardinal) number. Think of it more like a unit of measurement, like "ein Meter", "ein Liter", etc.

So here the proper negation is: "Ich habe kein Dutzend Äpfel." The "kein" refers to the first noun, "Dutzend", which happens to be of the neuter gender. (das Dutzend).

"Ich habe keinen Liter Milch." (der Liter, die Milch).

Confusingly, sometimes cardinal numbers can be treated as nouns, namely if they do not represent a precise or countably quantity. Then cardinal numbers transform into units of measurement (or dimension), like "das Dutzend".

"Ich habe viele Hundert Äpfel". Here you cannot use "keine" for the negation, you would need to resort to something like "Ich habe (nur) wenige Hundert Äpfel." or "Ich habe (gar) keine Äpfel", in case you have none at all, but that is not a precise negation of the original statement.

Hope that makes some sense. ;)

August 13, 2018

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

I hope somebody else can explain the grammar, but "Ich habe keine grüne Äpfel" has to be "ich habe keine gruenen Aepfel". The adjective needs the accusative ending.

September 19, 2018

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

You are right. I corrected the error in my reply.

October 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EmperorIguana42

This is really helpful, thanks!

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Graeme568212

Thanks. Much appreciated.

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LL-Stylish

Thank you for the tips, It's really helpful for me

August 9, 2018

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

So it's like the 'geen' in Dutch, ja?

August 9, 2018

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

Ja, ist es.

August 9, 2018

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

This is very helpful. I have been struggling with this problem all morning. Desert Rose you are a jewel.

August 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dessert-Rose

I am sooo happy this helped you (all)! Gern, gern, gern geschehen!

August 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susan242221

In the lesson "Negatives," Tips and Notes explains it just as you have. For those who only have access to the app (w/o Tips and Notes), this is a nice post!

August 9, 2018

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

There is a little mistake: Du hast ein Apfel. - Du hast kein Apfel. Right: Du hast einEN Apfel. Du hast keinEN Apfel

August 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dessert-Rose

Thank you sooo much! Now I've learned something too! I will change it.

August 10, 2018

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

Noch 2 Fehler: Wir haben viel Milch. - Wir haben keine Milch
Es macht viel Spaß. - Es macht keinen Spaß

August 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dessert-Rose

Vielen dank Telpi!

August 11, 2018

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

Great presentation

August 11, 2018
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