Help, GermanSpeakers! Kein & Nicht!? When & How?
Guten Aben! So currently I'm taking a German 1 class at college. So far so good, however I've been having trouble with "nicht" and "kein". My professor goes way to fast and I just can't seem to quite grasp this as much as I would like to. My question is, how would I know whether to use "nicht" or "kein" and where do they get placed at because that is one the problems that messes me up when I try to translate or respond in German. An answer/explanation with an example would really help and be much appreciated.
Well, this is one of the issues I had when I started taking German and sort of figured out on my own, so I don't know exactly how to explain it HAHAHA But, from what I've seen, you'll use "nicht" when you want to deny the action itself. For example, if you want to say "I am not eating" you'd say "Ich esse nicht" , or if you want to say "I don't drink", it'd be "Ich trinke nicht". However, when you want to deny the object of your action, you should use "kein~".
Examples: "I don't drink milk" = "Ich trinke keine Milch" and not "Ich trinke nicht Milch" because you're denying you drink milk, but you still drink other things. "Ich trinke nicht" would mean that you don't drink at all, but if you want to say specifically that you don't drink milk, or beer or anything in particular, you should use "kein~".
Well I may be wrong and there may be another rule, but, until know, thinking about this has helped a lot. But, if I'm wrong, anyone please correct me.
Hi! Hello! Yeah, I can see how this can be tricky for many learners, like myself. I was just either using nicht and kein in the wrong way and putting in the wrong place of the sentence. I will take your advice as well with others along with my other research on this. Thanks for your comment. Much appreciated! :)
Thank you so much for responding! I'm starting to understand it a bit better with the helpful info I received, and your explanation really helps. Now I have to keep practicing to let my brain fully absorb it. Vielen Danke! :)
You are welcome. By the way, it is "Vielen Dank!" without "e" at the end. "Danke" is the short form of "ich danke" (danken = to thank), whereas in "vielen Dank" the word "Dank" is a noun.
When you have a sentence you want to negate that has an "a" or "an" in it, you use "kein". For example, "Ich bin ein Lehrer (I am a teacher)" uses "ein" which is like "a". So, to negate it, you say, "Ich bin kein Lehrer (I am not a teacher)".
Kein (declined to suit the case) is used to negate an indefinite noun, while nicht is used to negate anything else (whole sentence, definite noun, verb, adjective, time/reason/manner/place etc....).
The position of nicht is somewhat complicated at first, but ubdip's link explains it fairly well.
nicht user to deny: 1-verbs 2-Names 3-Der,Das,Die 4-prepositions 5-personal pronouns (mein,dein,sein,unser,....) *kein: is for Eine and Eine only ie : the words without articles(Der,das,die)