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  5. "I could not."

"I could not."

Translation:Ich konnte nicht.

April 8, 2013



Why is it correct to say "Ich konnte nicht" both with and without the umlaut? Is there any difference?


'could' has two meaning in English, 1/ "I could have done it yesterday", 2/ "I could do it" - one referring to the past tense, the other to the possibility of being able to do something... they respectively are expressed using konnten and könnten in German


This is a problem in english where 'could' has two meanings the past tense of 'can' and 'to be able to' 'was able to ' -'konnte' or the conditional/konjunktive ii 'would be able to ' - 'könte'


i answer "ich könnte nicht" and it was accepted.


I'm a German trying to improve my English here.

On a whim I tried "Das würde ich nie tun." I didn't expect it to be accepted. But wouldn't it be a correct translation in some cases?


I think "Das würde ich nie tun" is closer to "I would never do that". In the sentence "I could not" / "Ich konnte nicht" there isn't such notion about whether it could/couldn't be done in the future...


Thank you. I thought I had heard the sentence used with this connotation. But maybe I misunderstood.


The sentence could carry that meaning in English, but I wouldn't assume so unless I had significant context indicating that to be the case.

As a general rule, future constructs in English are much more explicit than in German. You almost always have to use the modal verb 'will' to express such meaning.


Great help, thank you!


I realised after reading the question by @steeph above that I didn't know what "on a whim" was in German so I googled it and it's "aus einer Laune heraus".

Somehow I find that a really difficult little phrase to remember. Why is the "heraus" needed?


i dont understan the places of verbs in german. is there anyone to help me?


Second position in the sentence. Infinitives and participles go to the end.


is it a general principle?


It is a general principle. There are other rules that also govern the position of verbs. In a nebensatz with conjunctions such as DASS or WEIL the conjugated verbs goes to the end with if there is an infinitive or participle it precedes the conjuagted verb. eg "Ich wusste nicht, dass John gut lesen kann."Things get even more complicated with multiple modal verbs in the past tense or with using passive.


what about nicht?


Nicht goes in front of the part of the sentence it negates, unless it negates the whole sentence in which case it goes to the end, unless there are also verbs or separable prefixes that have also gone to the end, in which case nicht goes just before them.


what is the difference between konnte and könnten?


"Konnte" is the past-tense "could": "Yesterday, I could do it, but today I can't." "Könnte is the subjunctive "could": "I could do it if I were bigger."

Inflection of "können" here


Could this also technically be Ich durfte nicht.?


Why can i not say "ich habe nicht gekonnt"?

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