Great! :-) However, you avoid "don' have any" in your poetic example. I'm having a hard time discussing with myself whether singular would be acceptable when succeeding "any"...
Anyway, Duo corrected me for using "any", telling me to use the article; "I don't have a sister." This is really not the equivalent to the German text -- that would be "Ich habe nicht eine Schwester."
Maybe so, but the idiomatic English is :-
- I don't have any sisters
- I have no sisters
But just maybe, once in a while one will say I have no sister, I have no sisters is a perfectly correct idiomatic translation of the German sentence.
On the exactly previous lesson there is a similar phrase: "Sie hat keine Schwester" When i first translated to "she does not have any sister" the system said it was wrong, and stade that the correct would be " she does not have any sisters" I am crazy or the system is all messed up?
It is really quite irritating and a major flaw of Duolingo that it insists on an exact translation and not idiomatic English. This is especially important since there are plenty of tales of people with excellent academic language grades going to the country and not understanding a thing from their traditional classroom courses because they are too 'academically correct'.
In my case when i tried learning spanish in school i had the opposite problem, i could only understand very basic words because when they only translated things directly into their english counterpart i couldn't figure out how the words actually worked and were used. That meant i had no idea how to form sentences or any idea why i would use a word that earlier meant something completely different. There needs to be an understanding of literal use as well as general similarity in meaning or it gets too difficult to follow the language's rules, at least in my case.
nicht = not
kein/keiner/keines/keine/keinen = no or none (conjugation following the article and adjectives)
The translation by Duo is not always literal, and real life usage isn't either.
Example taken from this lesson:
Ich habe nicht eine Schwester. (I do not have a sister.) This version is not common/colloquial in German, even though it's not gramatically wrong, I think.
Ich habe kein Schwester. (I have no sister.) This is a more common expression, so Duo teaches the colloquially correct version.
Ob ich Schwestern habe? Nein, keine. (If I have sisters? No, none.)
Hope this helps! Please note, however, that I'm not native, so feel free to correct me if needed! :-)
No, it is not correct. For negating a noun without an article (der, die, das) you MUST use "kein,..." In this case, you are negating sister, that is a noun without "die", so "nicht" cannot be used here. You use nicht to negate verbs: Ich renne nicht; to negate noun WITH articles (even with possesive pronouns): Ich kann das Haus nicht bauen.