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  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.


So "Ich kann meine Uhr finden nicht" would be wrong?


Yes, "nicht" at the end would be wrong.


When there's Modal verb in tis case Kann goes in the 2 place of the sentence an the other verb at the end of the sentence(finden) and nicht goes before the infinitive verb(finden) !!


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...


I had this happen too. Duolingo just marked "Ich kann meine Schuhe nicht finden" as incorrect, but now says "Ich kann nicht meine Uhr finden" is incorrect. Am I supposed to believe that the location of nicht is dependent upon the thing I can't find?


"Ich kann meine Schuhe nicht finden" seems to be the default answer for that exercise, so I would have to guess you made a typo in that one when you were writing your response. In both sentences, putting "nicht" after the noun is the best order.

(If you put "nicht" before the noun, you're specifically negating the noun so your sentence sounds like "I can't find my shoes, [but I can find e.g. my shirt]," and then it really needs that "sondern mein Hemd" at the end to make any sense.)


That's fair. Since this comment I read a couple articles about word order that really cleared it up for me so you're probably right about the typo. Here's the link to the 3rd of 3 articles covering word order in detail that really helped me for anyone interested https://yourdailygerman.com/german-word-order-3/


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?


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


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


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


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?


The position of nicht still confuses me and according to this discussion, it puzzles a lot of other people too. Someone who can clarify this once and for all please? The nicht seems to be negaing Uhr in this sentence...


The nicht seems to be negaing Uhr in this sentence...

It's not; it's negating the verb. "Nicht" generally goes right before whatever it's negating, so if you wanted to say that what you can't find is specifically your watch, you would say "Ich kann nicht meine Uhr (sondern meinen Hut) finden."

Negating the verb is an exception; to do this you put the verb at the end (though before any infinitives and participles). In this exercise "nicht" is at the end (after everything but the infinitive), and so it's negating the verb-- the action of being able to find the watch.


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 ;)


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.


Why mein and not meinem?


Is meine akk? I thought it was dative If we have more than one verb (can and find), how can i know whick object belongs to each verb? My thought process: What i can(nt)? -> find What i find -> Uhr So meinem should be dative as it is indirect to the verb can


Yes, it's accusative.

I thought it was dative If we have more than one verb (can and find)

That is not the case. You might be thinking of the fact that if a verb has more than one object, one object will typically be dative (but even this is not a hard-and-fast rule).

If you've got two verbs with one being an auxiliary verb like "können/müssen/sollen," then any noun objects are going to be the objects of the main verb and not the auxiliary. You can't "can something" or "should something," but you can "find something"; thus "meine Uhr" is the object of "finden." And it's the direct/accusative object because it's the thing you're (not) finding; you aren't, e.g., finding to it in a way that you would "give something to someone," which is what would typically indicate the dative.


What about "Ich kann nicht finden meine Uhr."


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


Why are there no hover hints??

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