1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Ich verstehe nichts."

"Ich verstehe nichts."

Translation:I do not understand anything.

July 31, 2013

36 Comments

Sorted by top post

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zacharylumley

Can this not also mean "I don't understand"?

October 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lai_mesunda

I think Duo may just be a little more pedantic in this example. It's trying to emphasize the difference between using nichts and nicht. "Ich verstehe nicht" would be "I don't understand," since nicht modifies theverb verstehen. On the other hand, "ich verstehe nichts," with the s, emphasizes that there is nothing you understand. They're basically the same; one is just more emphatic than the other. :)

January 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rohini308443

So, is "I understand nothing " correct?

May 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamirRafat

I don't understand anything

September 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/phuntimes

These don't seem like different meanings to me...

October 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zengator

To clarify for the benefit of Rohini308443, SamirRafat, phuntimes, sbridge, and perhaps others:

The literal, word-for-word translation of "Ich verstehe nichts" is "I understand nothing," meaning that the speaker does not comprehend anything at all. (Although, realistically, such a statement is probably limited to the topic at hand; if one truly did not understand anything, one wouldn't even be able to converse).

This could also be stated as the complement, "I do not understand anything." Understanding nothing has the same meaning as not understanding anything.

Leaving off the "anything/nothing" does not capture the full meaning of the German sentence.

October 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danetteelliott

Thank you!

March 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GothboyUK

According to Duo, no. According to my German teacher, yes. >.>

November 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Olashmartinez

1000 days get a Lingot!

August 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sbridge

I wrote that, "I don't understand" and it said I was wrong. I would think it's the same meaning!

November 19, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FckItsChey

Same. Im confused.

November 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zengator

"Ich verstehe nicht" would indicate one does not understand some particular thing. "Ich verstehe nichts" would indicate more of a total state of confusion. lai_mesunda was correct in saying that die Eule is using this to emphasize the difference between nicht und nichts.

If you are having a hard time grasping the difference between the two sentences here, then du verstehst nicht. If you are totally bewildered by the entirety of German, then perhaps du verstehst nichts, which would explain why du verstehst nicht.

Verstehen Sie?

April 28, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/davejbz

Same here

February 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Medvidek

You can also say: "Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof." (Literally: "I only understand railway station." Figuratively: "It is all Greek to me.")

July 31, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Erikman

Any idea why that would mean that? I'm guessing that it's because the trains are so reliable that it's easy to determine how the schedules work so it's not hard to understand it. Am I even close?

February 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OgnjenG.

Google is your friend :) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_to_me And thanks Medvidek for learning 2 new idioms, both English and German P. S. In Serbian we say ''španska sela'' (lit. Spanish villages - have no idea of its origin :/)

April 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mac266

If I said, "Ich verstehe nicht" that would mean "I do not understand." In this case, "nichts" with the s makes the sentence mean something else: I do not understand anything. Is that correct?

December 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AtalinaDove

Yep

January 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SShaw23

That's how i feel now, i can't understand the negatives

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bodhisattvawade

I understand nothing

May 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnold_K69

First thing that came to my mind when I read the sentence in German:)

May 7, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BIOBELE

I do not understand (anything) please where is the anything. I thought "etwas" is anything so Ich verstehe nichts etwas.

August 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/davejbz

I think "nichts" can also mean "nothing". But sometimes, 'I understand nothing.'

August 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mirdep

I really cant understand this hahahha

January 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fajerbach

now, that's a useful sentence!

January 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ljupcosst66

Stupidity

March 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/carolinetavs

Pretty accurate :(

March 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/patricktl

Why is I do not understand...incorrect?

May 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/QucVngH

The sound recognition is not really good. I cant make it roght. So tired

June 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lil_Uncrustable

im offended

November 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SororTamori

This sentence says it all. I really understand nothing in this section. Lol I've done fine until this point. Now Ive read a thousand comments and tried to get it...yet still I understand NOTHING. I'll keep trying.

June 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/svefn-g-englar

I always seem to get these phrases whenever I get a bunch wrong right before it... Duolingo's calling me out lmao

September 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Liayden

I said "I do not understand" mainly because the difference between nicht and nichts was not made clear beforehand, I was left wondering where the "anything or thing" came from DUO was clumsily teaching this lesson.

I would suggest that giving all the information one needs in advance would be a far better method of teaching DUO has a Blunt repetitive approach, hence the growing popularity of "BUSUU" instead, more info on busuu may be found here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Busuu

September 9, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TravisKennedy

Yeah pretty much.

July 19, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GauthamVij2

Exactly!

August 4, 2016
Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.