1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "I cannot find my watch."

"I cannot find my watch."

Translation:Ich kann meine Uhr nicht finden.

April 13, 2013



How does one know where to place nicht in a sentence. I wrote "Ich kann nicht meine Uhr finden"


"nicht" modifies the main verb, so it goes as close to the main verb as it can. "Ich finde nicht meine Uhr" "Ich kann meine Uhr nicht finden" "Ich kann meine Uhr heute nicht finden."


Duo rejects "Ich kann nicht meine Uhr finden." What's wrong with that? Intuitively, "nicht" modifies "kann," not "finden." The sentence is saying that the speaker is not able to find her watch, not that she is able to not-find her watch.


Nicht is modifying kann.


I have been told (in German class) that nicht is relatively flexible in this structure but it's position alters the meaning. For example "Ich kann nicht mein Uhr finden" negates "mein Uhr" and therefore implies that you cannot find your watch but did find something else.

I can see why the real meaning is better conveyed though "Ich kann mein Uhr nicht finden"


I thought "nicht" in your first sentence negates "kann". In my opinion, "nicht" negates verbs or adjectives. The sign used to negate noun is "kein". However, I still don't understand clearly why "nicht" should be positioned before the verb in this case


I wrote the same sentence...


Hmm, I find it strange that in a previous sentence I could put 'nicht' after 'kann', but get marked as wrong if I do it this time...


Hmm… have you looked down the back of the sofa?


What is the difference between "Ich kann meine Uhr nicht finden" and "Ich finde meine Uhr nicht"? (Sorry if my word order is wrong on the second sentince I still don't really understand word order in German).


"I cannot find my watch" and "I do not find my watch"/"I am not finding my watch". (Your word order seems fine to this non-Native speaker.)


Well explained and yeah, the wordorder is fine ;)


hab ja geschriben 'Armbanduhr' anstatt 'Uhr' und geht nicht..was bedeutet das?


I wrote "Ich kann meine Armbanduhr nicht finden" and Duo accepted it.


Why are there no hover hints??


Why does "You can't say no" translates into "Du kannst nicht nein sagen" but "I can't find my watch" translates into "Ich kann meine Uhr nicht finden"?


'nicht' generally goes before the verb you want to negate. In the second case, you are negating the ability to say no (but still say other words), therefore it goes before the 'nein'. I presume that's what you're asking?


I feel like there isn't enough context to say what is being negated.  Are you negating the find, the ability or the watch? We don't know.

I cannot find my watch. But I found other stuff. I cannot find my watch. But I can do other stuff. I cannot find my watch. But I want to find my watch.

Are the two places to put nicht grammatical as in:

lch kann meine Uhr nicht finden. lch kann nicht meine Uhr finden.

Or is one of them ungrammatical?


What about "Ich kann nicht finden meine Uhr."


WIth model verbs, the main verb goes right at the very end of the clause/sentence.


"ich kann nicht meine Uhr finden" could be right?


What about "Ich finde meine Uhr nicht"?


In some other sentence how that negation occurs immediately after modal verben? and in some sentences it is after before the last verb? please explain the rule.

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.