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Kein vs. Nicht ?

I understand that kein is the 'negative' no and that nicht is the equivalent of 'not'.. but what is it about the following sentences that let you use both to convey the same meaning?

  1. Obst esse ich nicht.
  2. Ich esse kein Obst.

Are kein and nicht always interchangeable so long as you switch the sentence structure around??

May 21, 2012



Kein and nicht are not interchangeable. Obst esse ich nicht. Means "I do not eat vegetables". Ich esse kein Obst Means "I eat no vegetables". In te say way "do not" and "no" are not interchangeable in English.


Like Tom said, "kein" is an absolute term, meaning more the equivalent of "no/non-/none" in relation to the object of the sentence. "Nicht" is a simple negation, equivalent to "not."

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