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How to use keine or nicht in a sentence

Keine can put in the middle after verb and sometimes put after verb and adverb of time. For example: Ich habe gerade keine Zeit. ( I do not have time right now). Why we can't use sentence like this: Ich habe keine gerade Zeit ? (my answer in Duo was wrong).

Nicht can put in the middle, in the end before verb or end of a sentence. For example: 1. Rot is nicht meine Farbe. (In this case we can not use keine) 2. Kann Ich nicht selbst entscheiden ? 3. Sein Vorname ist nicht schlecht. 4. Ich kann meine Uhr nicht finden. 5. Während der Ferien mache ich nichts.

How we can find the pattern to make the sentence. Danke.

December 19, 2018



Hi again, Suri!

To keep things simple, "nicht" is very similar to English "not". You use it especially for verbs.
"I don't want to go": "Ich will nicht gehen".
"I don't know": "Ich weiß nicht".

"Keine" is a negative "ein".
"I want an apple": Ich will einen Apfel.
"I don't want an apple": Ich will keinen Apfel. (der Apfel is masculine in German).
I don't want an orange: Ich will keine Orange (die Orange is feminine).
I don't want a beer: Ich will kein Bier (das Bier is neuter).
Kein Mensch ist netter wie du: No person, nobody is nicer than you are.

But if you use the definite article (the, der, die, das), then you revert to using "nicht".
"Ich will nicht die Orange (Ich will die Banane)": I don't want the apple (I want the banana).

Same goes with possessive and demonstrative article: you just use them with "nicht".

The place of "nicht" is a different beast. Most of the time, you put it right after the negated conjugated verb. You put it right before the non-conjugated negated verb.
If there is a pronoum, you usually put "nicht" after the pronoun.
"Ich will es nicht": "I don't want it".
"Ich will das nicht": I don't want that.
Except when you want to say you don't want "that", but you do want something.
"Ich will nicht das (Ich will das andere Ding)"
And you can do the same with a noun.
Ich will den Apfel nicht/Ich will nicht den Apfel.

Is it better?


"kein Mensch ist netter wie du" - I don't know you in person but this could be true (let us start with some flattery). Nonetheless, a good friend of mine told me one or two (million) times only to use "als" if I compare things, so it's "kein Mensch ist netter als du". If something is as good as another you use "so gut wie".

Don't be sad, this is a mistake some 2/3 of (at least south) Germans regularly make. Your German still seems close to perfect.

Bonne journée


First thing first, thanks, Hannibal.
And second, it's really a brain lapse, as I wrote this exemple actually thinking of a song which is exactly "Ich kenne nichts, das so schöne ist wie du" :)


On second thought, perfection is always elusive (even my native still holds many secrets, when it's my main area of expertise) and in any case a fareway dream. But it appears that what I get, I get it well, and that feels so good after so many years assuming I would never be able to understand German, when I so wanted to!

So, I suppose I just have to work long enough for more and more things to fall into place. And very kind natives like you will help me on my way :)


Merci beaucoup. You both are very kind answer my question to improve my German :)


Ich höre aufmerksam zu. Thank you for another explanation about this sentense: "kein Mensch ist netter wie du" to correct it : "kein Mensch ist netter als du" Großartige erklärung. Nochmals vielen Dank, Hannibal


Hallo Vabelie, Danke für die Erklärung. Ja, better. It's a bit pain to learn German. :)


The "nicht" or "keine" is always placed directly in front of the thing you want to negate. So the placing of the negation depends on the placing of the word to be negated. The only thing that comes between "kein/e" and the word (e.g. Hunde) would be something that specifies the word like "ich mag keine Hunde" (I don't like dogs) "ich mag keine kleinen Hunde" (I don't like small dogs).

Ich habe keine gerade Zeit would be wrong because "gerade" would change it's meaning from "right now" to "straight" or "even" (as in "odd and even numbers".



to go a bit further into the details, the german language has something called "satzglieder", but with a twist different to other languages: they can be shuffled around, instead of languages like english with their S-V-O structure. Just one rule: the verb needs to be on the second position.

"Ich gehe in den Wald" [Ich] [gehe] [in den Wald] [In den Wald] [gehe] [ich] (used to emphasises, that you are going into the forest.

and besides the verb, every part can be negated,

Ich gehe nicht in den Wald I am not going into the forest Nicht ich gehe in den Wald It's not me, who goes into the forest

keep in mind, in both of these versions, that the receiver of this message will now expect you to tell, who else is going there, or where else..

There would be a third possibility

Ich gehe nicht in den Wald, ich laufe. I don't go into the forest, I run (into the forest).

Sadly, duolingo doesn't explain this. The only other language I am aware of, that allows shuffling in this way, is latin.


Danke für die Erklärung, Hubert Noted for "satzglieder", the position of S-V-O can be shifting. The aim of the shifting for emphasis ?


Danke Hannibal-Barkas, so "gerade" would have different meaning if put after keine. Is it for amphasis ?


Hi, Suri. Hannibal will correct me if I'm wrong, but what I get is there are two identical words spelled "gerade", one being an adverb you put after a verb to say the action of the verb takes place "right away" or "at the very moment", "just now"; and the second an adjective relating to the noun, with the meanings he told you: "straight" or "even" :)

There are some (well, perhaps many ;p) things that seem strange at first with German, but once you just accept them, it sort of become logical and really confortable after a while :) You will get there!


Couldn't have said it better - the strangeness of German included ;)


I guess I'm a bit weird in my fashion, that's probably why it suits me well ;)

And French does have its quirks too!


Hallo Vabelie. It's clear. Ja, it seems strange. So this sentence we can call it as phrase: "Ich habe gerade keine Zeit". Danke vielmals, Vabelie & Hannibal


What is the meaning of the arrow up and down below the comment, caused I got minus 3 (-3). What happened :(


Hi Suri, you can up- and downvote the discussions. Normally you upvote if you like it and it is useful and downvote if it's spam. But sadly many good and helpful posts get downvotes. Sometimes within minutes. I can't tell you why. Unfortunatly with -5 the post disapears for the users (you can still see it when you follow).

Don't worry or be sad. Many users get these downvotes at the moment. Have an upvote and a lingot.

best regards, Angel


Hola Angel, gracias por la explicación. Understood now. No triste de nuevo. You're right it can change within minutes. Best

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