Is there a difference between "nie" and "niemals?"

I just finished the negation lesson. I was taught "nie" and "niemals," both meaning "never." Is there a difference between these two words? Are they just interchangeable, or is each one used in specific instances?

July 19, 2014


I search for this too and this is what I found :

nie : never, at no time

niemals : never ever, no way, not for a moment

nimmer : no longer, no more

Martin S answered 1 year ago

Nie and niemals both mean never and are in general exchangeable. Niemals has sometimes a more emotional factor it's in a way an enhenced "nie" then meaning "never ever" e.g. "Küss mich!" sagte der Frosch. "Niemals!" antwortete die Prinzessin. "Vergiss' nicht, du darfst diese Tür niemals öffnen" (Dont forget: You must never ever open that door).

There's also certain phrases like "Sag' niemals nie" (Never say never (again)) where you should not not exchange them. Also sometimes in poems or lyrics you cannot exchange one for the other as you will become a syllable short or too long - but that concerns only the length of the line not the meaning.

But in general those two words are exchangeable.

"Nimmer" is the negation of immer (always) so it's the same as "nie" but it is not used with that meaning anymore as it is outdated and replaced by "nie". Nevertheless it survived in phrases (nie und nimmer = never ever, under no circumstances) or in some composite words. E.g. "auf Nimmerwiedersehen" which is the negation of the common "Auf Wiedersehen" and expresses that you do not want to see that person anymore after you have parted. But "nimmer" is still widely used in southern German/Austrian colloquial speech in the meaning of "nicht mehr" (not anymore). e.g. if you ask for a discontinued item in a shop you might get the answers: "Des gibt's leider nimmer" (Das gibt es leider nicht mehr = I'm sorry that item is not available anymore).

I hope that helps a little. Source: Austrian, native German speaker

July 19, 2014

They mean the same and can be used interchangeably in most cases. Niemals might sound a bit more intense/emotional though...

July 19, 2014

Not sure how much this'll help cause it's in German. "Niemals" is just stronger than nie though.

July 19, 2014
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