When the gender is not known the default choice is male. If you translate "Keine trinkt", you are saying that the persons you are talking about are female and that none of them is drinking. So: translating "Nobody drinks" you can say both "Keiner trinkt" and "Keine trinkt" Bur stick to "keiner trinkt" when there is no other information because that is generally used.
They seem to be interchangeable, but niemand, for being gender neutral, may be more used. There's an article that might help us: http://germannn.tumblr.com/post/44440397858/niemand-v-s-keiner
This article says "niemand" has no gender:
In other words, it's not even neuter. I'm not sure that makes complete sense, but German Wiktionary currently also says it has no "Genus".
I believe you are looking at kein as an indefinite article (ein/kein). I have made this mistake too. I think this is not an indefinite article here, it's the indefinite pronoun (keiner, keines, keine, keine), it's in nominative case. They are used instead of jemand/niemand when we want to express the gender as well. I'm not sure actually why don't we say Niemand trinkt...
Well, one of the roles of grammatical cases is to show the role that a particular word plays in a sentence, and trinken doesn't have any roles for which a genitive or dative word would fit.
Genitive can sometimes mark possession, for example, and sometimes matches up to "of NOUN" in English, while one use of the dative case is to mark the indirect object, the recipient of giving or of speaking, and sometimes matches up to "to NOUN" in English.
So an interpretation as genitive would give something like "of nobody drinks", and an interpretation as dative would give something like "to nobody drinks", which don't make sense -- and which lack a subject, to boot! (In German, nearly all verbs need an expressed subject in the sentence, and trinken isn't one of those impersonal verbs that don't.)
How can you be talking about anyone, if you are talking about no one?
Suppose an all female group. You say "No one drinks." You are not referring to any of the women present.
If you think you can change keiner to keine for all female, how about a situation where the group is known and is a mix of male and female. Do you use "keine" to refer to plural?
"How can you be talking about anyone if you're talking about no one" is a philosophical question that doesn't need to be answered for a speaker to be understood. :-)
Here's an article with some examples of "kein(er)" in different declensions:
I think yes. According to Langenscheidt Wörterbuch, they both actually mean the same. I assume the difference is that "niemand" is somewhat stronger than "keiner". The former seems to be more frequent in statements and arguments (mostly formal), the latter appears to be more usual in answers or something alike. I am not totally sure about that, though. I suppose you ought to ask for a German teacher or a specialist's opinion on it.
As I understand it, that's close, but the difference is perhaps clearer if we recognize that "keiner" can mean "none", and it's more along the lines not of "keiner" only meaning "none (of them / of us / of the people here / etc.)", but that it can can, whereas "niemand" generally wouldn't, though "keiner" can also imply "no one at all".
That said, in English, the specific context can make "nobody" imply "nobody among us"/"none of the specific group referred to", and I would guess that that's also possible with "niemand".
I welcome the correction of any of the above.
There are usage notes here, but they're not comprehensive as of the time of this posting:
I thought that "kein" words negate nouns and that "nicht" was what was used to negate verbs. Why can "Keiner" be used in this instance?
In this instance it's the subject, not the verb, that's in the negative. "Keiner" itself is a negative pronoun meaning "no one", rather than a determiner. Think of the positive statement as "one drinks". The negation, here, is that "no one drinks". It's not that "one does not drink ".
Pretty much the same idea, except that jemand/niemand can not give information about gender, where einer/keiner can (...,eine, eines / ...keine, keines):
An der Haltestelle steht jemand, und wartet auf den Bus. (Somebody standing at the bus stop waiting for the bus)
An der Haltestelle steht einer, und... (Here we know it's a dude...)
It's because in this case it's acting not as an article (or, technically, a determiner), but as a pronoun, but not as a pronoun of the adjectival possessive variety (which would make it a species of determiner) – so you have to leave the first table on that page behind and go to the third table. (At least it's the third table as of the date of this writing. And thanks, that's a helpful quick reference page for this lesson.)
With German declensions, you've got to laugh or you'll cry. ;-)
Note that in English, "No one drink" is conjugated in the second person (the third person is "drinks"), even though "no one" is the third person. That's because imperative commands always have an implied "you" as the subject.
"No one drinks" is also possible as an order, but it's indirect. It's more like an edict than a command, if I can put it that way.
I imagine it's the same in German, but I'll leave that to native German speakers to discuss.
It would be nominative, being the subject of the sentence.
Apparently it's masculine. Look here:
Also see the third table here (for pronouns with definite-article-like endings [strong]):
Here, "keiner" itself is a negative pronoun meaning "no one". It stands on its own in place of a noun or noun phrase.
In this construction you can think of the subject, not the verb, as being in the negative. Think of the positive statement as "one drinks". The negation, here, is "no one drinks". (It's not that "one does not drink " / "man trinkt nicht ".)
In place of "keiner" you could also use "niemand" ("nobody").
Getting annoyed. Duo seems to use present and present continous interchangeably. e.g. Ich esse -> I eat or I am eating. It uses No one and nobody interchangeably. Yet, when I translate Keiner trinkt as No one is drinking, it marks me wrong, saying the correct translatios is: nobody drinks.
And I cannot report it, for the only options in now gives me are 'audio doesn't sound right', 'German sentence is unnatural or has an error' or 'the correct solution has an error'. None of those fits.
Then, the very next translation is for "Keiner spielt." So, being a contrary person, I type, "No one is playing", which Duo accepts, but says that "Nobody plays" is also correct.
the only options in now gives me are 'audio doesn't sound right', 'German sentence is unnatural or has an error' or 'the correct solution has an error'.
Then I'm guessing that you had a listening exercise ("type what you hear") and not a translation exercise.
In a listening exercise, you have to type in German, not in English.
If you make a mistake, it will tell you what you should have typed (in German), followed by a translation into English (which may or may not be the translation you would have used).
Duo accepts, but says that "Nobody plays" is also correct.
I recommend that you treat such cases as "Well done! Your answer is correct!".
Note that in some cases, the "also correct" sentence may even be exactly what you entered -- this has to do with how multiple similar alternatives are entered in the back-end.
How do I know what case this is?
keiner is the subject of trinkt, so it is in the nominative case.
How would I know to use Keiner vs any other form of kein?
You check to see whether it's a determiner (standing before a noun) or a pronoun (standing by itself).
It's a pronoun here -- the subject is not kein Mann or whatever, with a noun, but simply keiner by itself.
You know that it's a pronoun and in the nominative case. In the singular, the pronoun has gender endings in the nominative case for all three genders, unlike the determiner. You need the gender.
The pronoun is referring to a person. Probably not to a specific noun you have mentioned before (it's not "none of them" but simply "nobody"), so it will depend on the sex of the person in question. Since you don't know that all the people who could have been drinking but aren't are female, you use the generic masculine.
So you have: pronoun, masculine, nominative, singular.
That means that the form you need is keiner with the masculine nominative singular ending -er.
You can either just know that from having memorised the conjugation table, or you could look it up in a place such as http://www.canoo.net/inflection/kein:Pron:Indef (you need the second table, "nicht attributiv", then look for the intersection of "Nominativ" and "Maskulin Singular").
Duo tries to give you a correction that matches the length of the answer you gave. It doesn't always work out well.
"No 1 drinks" is because it allows the replacement of numerical words with the numerals themselves, so unfortunately it also allows the replacement of the pronoun "one" with "1".
"None drinks" is in fact a technically correct option, and I have another comment about it on this page, but you may have to display the hidden comments to see it (if Duo allows this with your user account). Here are a couple of grammar references instead that explain that "none" can take either a singular or a plural verb:
Thats what i wrote. But it told me the correct translation was "none drinks" which is not English.
In fact "none drinks" is technically correct, and it points to a potential subtle difference between "keiner" and "niemand".
Whereas "niemand" can imply "nobody (at all) drinks", "keiner" can imply "not one (member of the group previously referred to) drinks", i.e. "none (of them) drinks".
It's true that English speakers often treat "none" as plural. But etymologically it means "not one", and it can also be treated as singular, according to preference and intended emphasis:
As for the "correction" Duo shows, often it seems it's just the answer in the database that's closest to your entered sentence in length, and that has the most similar letters, no matter how much the suggested sentence differs from the default best answer. (And in this case it was probably added in the first place because someone noted its technical correctness.)
My take (which I see I already mentioned to you):
In short, while it's true that English speakers often treat "none" as plural, etymologically it means "not one", and it can also be treated as singular, according to preference and intended emphasis:
(This is true no matter how much you shout.)
This is a full sentence with a subject pronoun ("keiner") and a conjugated verb ("trinkt"). Your suggestion sounds like a phrase containing an adjective and a noun.
(Remember that nouns are capitalized in German, so the lack of capitalization is a clue that the word for "drinks" is not one.)
As mentioned by others, this sentence is in the third-person singular (he, she, it, one, someone, no one, somebody, nobody), and in English the third-person singular form of the verb takes an "s".
But it's also worth pointing out that this sentence is not in the imperative. (It's a descriptive statement, not a command.) "Nobody drink" would be correct in English as an imperative, because for an imperative, even when we have a third-person subject, we use a second-person verb. (Essentially, the implied subject in this sort of imperative is always "you".)
As for German imperatives, here's a breakdown: