"We have not paid for the chicken."
Translation:Wij hebben de kip niet betaald.
Can someone explain why 'voor' or similar is not required here? Surely 'wij hebben de kip niet betaald' means 'we have not paid the chicken'?!
You're right, it could mean that. But it can also mean we haven't paid for the chicken. And since people don't give money to animals very often, it usually means paid for the chicken. Usually this sentence means paid to when dealing with people (I'm ignoring human trafficking for now), and paid for for animals or things, like in the given sentence.
I'm not sure why it can be left out, but if you change the word order to: Wij hebben niet betaald voor de kip. it cannot be left out. And then paid to the chicken is Wij hebben niet betaald aan de kip.
Could someone please help me out with "geen" and "niet"? I can never tell which one to use in a sentence. For example, why is it not good to say "wij hebben voor geen kip betaald"?
"Niet" is in reference to verbs and "geen" is in reference to nouns.
Ik kan niet zingen. (I can't sing.) Hij heeft geen bier. (He doesn't have any beer. -or- He has no beer.)
In the case of "geen", it helps me to think of how it could be said in English. For instance, could "They don't have any money" also be "They have no money"? In this case, yes, so it would be "Ze hebben geen geld."
But this also works with "we have payed for no chicken" and yet "geen" is not accepted.
This must be one of those cases like the "I can't cook rice" question, and not so clear-cut. I, also, would think it would be "wij hebben voor geen kip betaald".
Susande's explanation above makes the case of this particular question make a bit more sense.
Seems a complicated issue, as others have pointed out. I would still like to add that "Wij hebben voor geen kip betaald" is a general statement about all chickens, whereas "wij hebben de kip niet betaald" is a specific statement about one chicken.