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  5. "Du brauchst nicht zu gehen."

"Du brauchst nicht zu gehen."

Translation:You do not need to go.

July 28, 2013



Why is the "zu" necessary here? I thought you'd just add the infinitive like you would with "können."


In formal standard German, it is necessary, but it's often omitted in colloquial speech.


So even with verbs like "können," "wollen," etc., "zu" is necessary in formal settings?


No, "brauchen" is an exception. With other modals you just use the bare infinitive. It would be wrong to add "zu".


"Brauchen" isn't a modal verb. I think in this case you would need to use "müssen". I'm not exactly sure, but I think you only use "brauchen" for nouns.


That's not correct. "brauchen" is a full verb as well as a modal.



heschmat, that's not true.

  • Du brauchst nicht zu gehen


  • Du musst nicht gehen

Both mean the same thing. To say "you must not" that's "du darfst nicht"


in English, when you say ''you don't have to go'' what you mean actually is ''you don't need to go'' which is why you cannot use ''müssen'' and ''brauchen'' is a better choice; although, I've seen people use either of the two, and context make it clear what they mean: ''you must not ...'' vs. ''you don't have to ...''


But why 'brauchen' needs 'zu' in front of it while others (eg, kennen) do not?


Brauchen is indeed indicated as both normal and modal in the dictionary, but if it needs 'zu' plus is conjugated normally, what makes it to be a modal verb then?...


I don't really understand your question. It's clearly used as a modal verb here as it gives a modal context (no obligation) to the full verb "gehen". An example of "brauchen" being used as a full verb would be "Ich brauche Wasser".


I see... Thanks a lot for the explanation and for taking the time to answer!


It is just that I don't see a modulation, but a statement, like "Du magst nicht zu gehen" for instance.


"Du magst nicht zu gehen" is wrong. I guess you're trying to say "Du möchtest nicht gehen". In this case, the modal verb is "mögen". It expresses volition, or rather lack thereof.

"nicht brauchen" in "Du brauchst nicht zu gehen" expresses obligation, or rather lack thereof.


Ah ah! I wanted not to use a modal verb to give a counter example but I actually used one! I guess the correct statement of what I wanted to say was "Du magst ES nicht zu gehen" --> "You don't like to go". But in any case, it is indeed modal... Mm... I will have to wrap my mind around it. Thanks for answering! Ah!... I found a counter example: "Du versuchst nicht zu gehen". This is not modal. My point is: isn't "brauchen" (to need!) just a normal verb sometimes indeed expressing a form of modality, but should not be considered per se as a modal verb? The Wikipedia page (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modalverb) says: "Im umgangssprachlichen Gebrauch wird neuerdings auch das Verb „brauchen“ (in der Negation) mit der Bedeutung „müssen“ als Modalverb (d. h. mit Infinitiv ohne zu, es gibt dialektal sogar die Form er brauch) verwendet, dies gilt standardsprachlich jedoch als falsch."


"Du magst es nicht zu gehen" doesn't work either.

"You would use "mögen" and "gefallen" to describe whether you like objects or not. To explain what you like doing, simply add the adverb "gern(e)" after the verb denoting the action in question. If you don't like doing an action, add nicht gern(e)"


The Wikipedia article is a bit of a mess. In "Du brauchst nicht (zu) gehen", "brauchst nicht" is a modal verb regardless of whether you use "zu" or not. It's just that the version without "zu" is colloquial.

As far as "Du versuchst nicht zu gehen" goes, there is no modality implied in the first place. It is a catenative verb, but not a modal verb as trying is not a category of modality.


I'm confused by you saying that brauchen is a modal verb in your explanations. Everywhere I've seen so far seemed to suggest this is the exhaustive list of German modal verbs: wollen, sollon, müssen, mögen, können, and dürfen.

The explanation I understand from trying to wrap my head around this is pretty simple and explains it in terms of two type of constructions:

-modal verbs

-infinitive clauses

What I read suggested that the rule for constructing an infinitive clause doesn't involve simply bumping the infinitive verb to end and inflecting the other -- in contrast to the rule for modal verb constructions -- but also requires zu to precede the infinitive verb. The sentence we have here is an infinitive clause, since brauchen is not a modal verb. Is this explanation incorrect?

source: http://www.nthuleen.com/teach/grammar/infinitivexpl.html


The reason why it's not listed on that website might be that it's not considered a core modal verb, it only functions as a modal if it's negated, and it occurs more often in spoken than in written German.

I don't have time right now to discuss this further, but if you want to learn more about it, you can read this article (the abstract is in English) or this one. You can also google "brauchen modal".


Well whatever the taxonomy is, what's the practical mechanic? It looks identical to what's given in the link I had


In other words, when we try to couple two verbs in an idea like "to need" and "to go", and the former is not a modal verb, our construction follows those rules of an infinitive clause. However, the former was a modal verb, we'd follow the usual modal verb construction rules and not have "zu" anywhere. See examples in the link I gave.


How do you distinguish between, "you do not need to go" and "you need to not go"?


Yeah, I would like to know that too!


Du musst nicht gehen.


Could you be a little more detailed, please? I don't quite understand what you are trying to say.


Sorry to be so curt; JackBond said what I meant.


Important note:

This structure is used only for negations.

To say "you need to go" you would NOT say:

  • "Du brauchst gehen"

You would say:

  • "Du musst gehen"

Also, "Du brauchst nicht (etwas zu tun)" and "Du musst nicht (etwas tun)" have the same meaning. That being "You don't have to".

Furthermore, to say "You must not" you would say:

  • "Du darfst nicht (etwas tun)"

Colloquially you can leave out the "zu", but it's best to just leave it in, because some people insist upon it.

"Wer brauchen ohne zu gebraucht, braucht brauchen gar nicht zu gebrauchen!"


Why is "you needn't go" a mistake??


"You need not go" is accepted and is the same. Report it.


Is 'you needn't to go' wrong English ?


Sorry, it isn't. Or at least, it isn't correct US English. Just ignore that little 'zu.'


Sounds British or older US English and would sound rather stilted if used in daily conversation, but it would still be understood. It just sounds a bit too 'proper,' but you needn't fret about it. It's just a contraction that you need not add to your regular vocabulary.


It's been a long time since I learned helper verbs (or modal verbs). Let me know if I have this right.

We have the "zu" here because "brauchst" in this case is like how we say "need to" in English. The "zu" doesn't really make up any part of the infinitive "gehen", but belongs as a necessary part of the verb "brauchst" right? Am I even close? :P

EDIT: Now that I've learned this rule, let me explain it. Only modal verbs like müssen, wollen, sollen, dürfen and a few more do not require the "zu". Those are just special words. Any other word like in this case "brauchen" needs "zu" if it belongs with a second verb. Furthermore, if that second verb fits the format of "in order to [adverbly] [verb]" use "um [adverb] zu [verb]"


"You do not need to leave" surely conveys the correct meaning?


While it conveys the correct meaning, it isn't an accurate translation. Duolingo is picky like that.


So is it okay to use "brauchen" when we mean "müssen?"

Can "You must see it," be said as "Du brauchst es zu sehen?"


No, these are only interchangeable when they're negated. There's no such thing as "Du brauchst es zu sehen".


Danke, der christian.


It seems far likelier to use müssen for "must/need to go"


My theory is that the use of "brauchen" emphasizes the actual need. Whereas "müssen" indicates compulsion, "brauchen" indicates personal need. You may not personally need to do something, but someone else might tell you to, so you must/have to.


How ought one say, "You need to not go."?


I think you want to say " you needn't to go" ; as to need is here a modal verb you have several possibilities.

du darfst nicht gehen du brauchst nicht zu gehen du musst nicht gehen (


Sorry, but you just used a sentence with the complete opposite meaning in your "List of possibilities"

You don't need to go / You need not (needn't) go

  • Du brauchst nicht zu gehen
  • Du musst nicht gehen

You must not go (You have to stay)

  • Du darfst nicht gehen


Does "Du mußt nicht gehen" means the same thing? Duo told me so.


Yes, it means the same thing, but it's spelled "musst". Use the eszett only after long vowel sounds.


Danke schön!


zugehen = to approach, to shut... how do we know it doesn't mean. "You do not need to approach." instead?? This might be a case where we know it should not be a separable verb used, but how do we know that?


The verb here is "gehen", not "zugehen". Otherwise, the sentence would be "Du brauchst nicht zuzugehen".

Here the "zu" is simply a preposition and not part of the verb, if it were a prefix, since it comes after a modal, it would be written without the space between "zu" and "gehen".

Also in this structure, we need the preposition "zu". When using "zu" with a separable prefix verb, the "zu" goes between the prefix and the verb stem. So, like stated above, it would be "zuzugehen".

zu (prefix) + zu (preposition) + gehen (verb stem) = zuzugehen


Since the negation is on "brauchst," shouldn't the structure be: Du brauchst zu gehen nicht?" By putting the "nicht" before "zu gehen," shouldn't that change it to "You need to not go." Someone please explain this to me.


The verb "brauchen" in the context of "nicht brauchen, etwas zu tun" is a modal verb. (You may have learned that modals don't take the "zu + infinitive" construction, however, this is an exception.)

Now try substituting the verb "brauchen" with "müssen".

  • Du brauchst nicht zu gehen - You don't have to go.
  • Du musst nicht gehen - You don't have to go.

Now try this with any other modal.

  • Du sollst nicht gehen - You're not suppose to go.
  • Du darfst nicht gehen - You're not allowed to go.
  • Du wirst nicht gehen - You will not go.
  • Du willst nicht gehen - You do not want to go.
  • Du möchtest nicht gehen - You would not like to go.

Notice where the "nicht" is placed in each sentence following a modal? It remains there in this case as well.

I hope this helps!


Why it is not like " you need not to go"..???


because proper English is 'you don't need to go' or 'you need not go'


"Du musst gehen." <===============> "Du darfst nicht bleiben."

|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| "Du kannst nicht bleiben."

"Du solltest (besser/lieber) gehen."

||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| "Du solltest (besser/lieber) nicht bleiben."

"Du kannst gehen."

|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| "Du musst nicht bleiben."

"Du darfst gehen."

"Du darfst bleiben."

|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| "Du musst nicht gehen."

"Du kannst bleiben."

||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| "Du solltest (besser/lieber) nicht gehen."

"Du solltest (besser/lieber) bleiben."

|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| "Du kannst nicht gehen."

"Du musst bleiben." <==============> "Du darfst nicht gehen."

That should be the whole range of expressions, from forcing someone to leave, to forcing someone to stay. The verb "können" here is not meant in the sense of "(to) be able to". It is rather used in the sense of "dürfen". Although there is a tiny, barely noticeable difference that makes "dürfen" a little more compelling than "können", it is often used synonymously.

on the left side are the 'positive' sentences (without "nicht") and on the right side the 'negative' sentences (with "nicht").


this is so pretty

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