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Negation in German: Kein and Nicht

Hello dear friends, in this lesson, we will explain in detail the subject of Negation in German (nicht/Kein), which is one of the subjects you will need the most while learning German.

If we want to negate a proposition in German, we must know when the negation occurs with nicht and when with kein.

Negation in German: Kein & Nicht

Negative sentences in German are provided with the words kein and nicht.

indefinite identifier, not “kein”

The words “nicht” (not, -meyer) make sentences negative.

When is ‘kein’ used?

Kein makes indefinite nouns negative! Although the word kein, which is one of the negative expressions, is similar to ein, it is not an article. Sentences containing kein and ein are made negative. A sentence that is used as indefinite article ein, der, das is used in the form of keine in the expressions that use kein, eine, that is die, to make a sentence negative, and it adds a negative meaning to the sentence. You can understand this better in the table below;

kein
kein

 

If we give an example for nouns without articles;

Ich habe hunger. (I’m hungry)
Ich habe keinen Hunger (I’m not hungry)

To give an example with an indefinite article (ein);

Das ist eine Katze.(It’s a cat)
Das ist keine Katze.(This is not a cat.)

However, there are situations that should not be forgotten! For example, if certain articles and personal pronouns are in front of the noun, they are made negative with nicht!!!

Das ist nicht der Kalender von 2002!
Tanzen ist wirklich nicht mein Hobby.

Ist das die Professorin? -Nein, das ist nicht die Professorin.

When is ‘nicht’ used?

Now let’s learn how to make the sentence negative with nicht. The statement that nicht is used to make negativity in all cases except kein will not be an exaggeration.

✔️When making negative verbs, nicht is used and nicht goes to the end of the sentence. If the main verb is used as the second verb in the sentence, it comes before the main verb at the end of the sentence.

Sample:

ich schreibe (I am writing.)
Ich schreibe nicht.(I don’t write.)

 

Ich will schreiben. (I want to write.)
Ich will nicht schreiben.

 

✔️Nicht is used when making negative adjectives. (Comes before the adjective.)

Sample:

Selin fährt Auto so schnell.(Selin drives fast.)
Selin fährt Auto nicht so schnell.(Selin does not drive fast.)

 

✔️Nicht is used when making negative adverbs. (Comes to the front of the envelope.)

Sie geht gerne schwimmen. (She loves to go swimming.)
Sie geht nicht gerne schwimmen. (She doesn’t like to go swimming.)

 

✔️ Nicht is used when making negative nouns with certain articles. (Comes before the article of the noun.)

Ich lese das Buch. (I read the book.)
Ich lese nicht das Buch. (I don’t read the book.)

 

✔️Nicht is used when making negative nouns containing possessive adjectives or possessive pronouns. (Comes before an adjective or pronoun.)

Das ist mein Computer. (This is my computer.)
Das ist nicht mein Computer. (This is not my computer.)

 

✔️Nicht is used when making negative sentences containing proper nouns. (Comes before the name.)

Das ist Tom. (This is Tom.)
Das ist nicht Tom. (This isn’t Tom.)

 

Das ist nicht Ahmets Auto.(This is not Ahmet’s car.)

 

✔️Nich is used when making negative prepositions containing place, time and situation. (Comes before the preposition.)

Wir wohnen nicht in Berlin. (We don’t live in Berlin.)
Der Zug kommt nicht um 18 Uhr an. (The train will not arrive at 6 o’clock.)
Otto hat das Loch nicht mit dem Spaten gegraben. (Otto didn’t dig the hole with a shovel.)

 

In the above-mentioned situations, since negation can be made, the whole sentence can be emphasized with nicht, or the sentence can be made negative with various meanings by adding nicht according to the words in the sentence;

without special emphasis;

Sueda geht heute in die Schule nicht.

Sueda isn’t going to school today.

 

-Sueda doesn’t go to school but can go somewhere else;

Sueda geht heute nicht in die Schule.

Sueda isn’t going to school today.

 

He does not go to school today, but may go another day;

Sueda geht nicht heute in die Schule.

Sueda isn’t going to school today.

 

The person going to school is not Sueda, but someone else;

Nicht Sueda geht heute in die Schule.

Sueda isn’t going to school today.

 

Differences Between Kein and Nicht

There are some differences between kein and nicht. These differences are listed below;

  • Nicht can be used with der-die-das while kein cannot be used with them.
  • Kein is used for nouns without an article, while nicht is not used.
  • Nicht can be used with possessive pronouns (mein, dein, sein …), while kein cannot be used with them.
  • Kein and adjectives cannot be used together, but nicht can be used.
  • Kein and envelopes cannot be used together, but nicht can be used.

With -Nicht, a negative meaning can be attributed to the whole sentence.

Daniel Müller

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