"You cannot say "no"."

Translation:Du kannst nicht "nein" sagen.

April 10, 2013

18 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/jgesner

I'm really having problems with "nicht" placement in some of these sentences. What is wrong with saying, "Du kann "nein" nicht sagen"?

April 10, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/bob690
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I would like to know the same thing. There is a general rule for placing "nicht" in a sentence. As I understand it, if you are negating a single word, nicht would come before that word. If you are negating the entire thought expressed by the sentence, nicht should come at the very end of the sentence except that the last position can be usurped by separable verb prefixes or verb infinitives "chased" by modal verbs or by a third thing that escapes me right now. By both of these "rules", "nicht sagen" seems right but DL disagrees.

March 22, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jhladky
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I think that in this case "nicht" is negating the verb "kann" not the verb "sagen". Like how in English the word "cannot" has "not" next to "can". But I may be wrong. There may be a larger rule on the placement of "nicht". :-)

May 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/-Copernicus-
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"Nicht" is modifying the word "kannst" (by the way, this should be "kannst" and not "kann" to agree with "Du"). When "nicht" is modifying a verb, it comes right after the verb, so "Du kann 'nein' nicht sagen" is wrong.

July 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/terminalmage

It is my understanding that "nein" is part of the infinitive ("nein" sagen, i.e. to say "no"), and this is the reason that "nicht" comes before it.

March 6, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Kardn6v

I have the same problem with 'nicht,' and also answered 'Du kannst 'nein' nicht sagen.'

April 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/BrendanOclumhain

I got it wrong for using "darfst" instead of "kannst." Either should be an acceptable translation of "cannot" in this example.

July 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Lorijn
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why is the following wrong? Du kannst kein "nein" sagen.

June 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/-Copernicus-
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"Kein" is an adjective meaning "not any" or "no," so literally, this would mean "You can't say any 'no,'" which is nonsense. You need to negate the verb "kannst," so use the adverb "nicht."

See this link about "kein" vs. "nicht": http://german.about.com/od/grammar/a/German-Negation.htm

July 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/shramona

That would mean, you cannot say "any" no. As in, you are not allowed to say any of the "no"s. Which doesn't really make sense.

February 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ACardAttack

Shouldn't this be an imperative? Or could it be at least?

May 20, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/-Copernicus-
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No; the verb "kannst" is not in imperative form. If we try to put in imperative form, though, the sentence ends up kind of strange (something like "Don't be able to say 'no.'").

Actually, I'm not sure that modal verbs even have imperative forms--according to my source ( http://www.canoo.net/inflection/k%C3%B6nnen:V:haben), "können" doesn't seem to. Hypothetically, though, the imperative form would be the stem of the verb, so we end up with "Könn nicht 'nein' sagen." ("Don't be able to say 'no.'").

If you just want to say "Don't say 'no,'" use "Sag nicht 'nein.'"

July 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Abendbrot
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Du kannst nicht "nein" sagen. is a statement while Du kannst nicht "nein" sagen! is an imperative.

May 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BenYoung84
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Adding an exclamation mark doesn't make a sentence grammatically imperative. In German imperatives have the same sentence structure as verb-subject inversion questions.

July 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Abendbrot
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You are right, it is only an order because it is only similar to an imperative. ("Sag nicht 'nein'!" is the imperative.)

July 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BenYoung84
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In fact I believe the imperative would be "Sag du nicht 'nein'!".

July 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Abendbrot
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You can write your sentence, but normally the pronoun is only used by "Sie" the formal "you".

July 23, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BenYoung84
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I wasn't aware of that, thanks.

July 23, 2015
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