Learn German A1 Negations in German Lesson 18

Learn German A1: Negations in German Lesson 18

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Learn German A1: Negations in German Lesson 18. We are going to learn in this lesson, ” How to form negative sentences in German language?” Because, You must understand how to say no in German language, If you want to be fluent in German. While, many students have problems with this topic, but you do not need to panic.

In German, we have three possibilities to express negation and therefore it might be a bit tricky to understand when to use which.

After reading this article, you will know when to use “nein”, “nicht” and “kein/e.”

When to use ”Nein” ?

It always comes at the start of the sentence. We use this negation in Yes/No questions of German language. Most of the time, You would answer the questions, someone has asked you by using ” Nein. ”

For Examples:

Nein, Ich will lieber Pizza essen. (No, I prefer to eat pizza.)

Nein, das ist ein Tisch. (No, This is a table.)

Nein, sie kommen aus München! (No, they come from Munich!)

Nein, das Museum ist rechts! (No, The museum is on the right!)

Nein, ich komme aus Österreich. (No, I am from Austria.)

When to use ”nicht”?

In English, we use “don’t” or “isn’t/aren’t.” We put do not and is/are not before the verb, respectively. But unlike English, we put “nicht” after the verb when negating in German.

In German negation, nicht is used to negate verbs, nouns (including proper nouns like Mari, Ali, etc.), adjectives (including possessive adjectives).

Negation for Verbs by using ”nicht”:

Subject + Verb + nicht + Object

Ich spiele nicht, ich lerne. (I do not play, I am studying.)

Wir warten nicht. (We are not waiting.)

Er schwimmt nicht. (He doesn’t swim.)

Morgen arbeitet mein Vater nicht, wenn er krank ist. (My father does not work tomorrow if he is sick.)

Mein Vater arbeitet nicht morgen, wenn er krank ist. (My father does not work tomorrow if he is sick.)

Das ist nicht ein Buch. (This is not a book.)

Nein, Ich wohne nicht in Hamburg! (No, I do not live in Hamburg!)

Negation for nouns by using ”nicht”:

There are few exceptions, where we use ”nicht” just before noun. For example:

Das ist nicht Usman. (This is not a Usman.)

Usman is noun but we have used ”nicht” instead of ”kein/keine.” Because names do not have articles. Therefore, We can not use article with any name.

Sie heißt nicht Mari. (Her name’s not Mari.)

Negating a German adjective:

Subject + Verb + nicht + Object

Das Kind ist nicht klein. (The baby is not small.)

Meine Freundin ist nicht neu in der Klasse. (My friend is not new in the class.)

Das ist nicht mein Auto. (That’s not my car.)

Das Haus ist nicht gross. (The house isn’t big.)

Der Stuhl ist nicht bequem. (The chair is not comfortable.)

When to use kein/keine?

We have learned in last two lessons intro to Nominative case & intro to Accusative case, that ”kein/keine” are articles. While, We also learnt that ”der” and ”das” nouns use ”kein” and ”die” and plural nouns use ”keine,”

We know, that article is used just before the noun in German language.

For example:

Das ist kein Buch. (This is not a book.)

Das sind keine Bücher. (These are not books.)

Ich habe keinen Freund. (I do not have any friend.)

Ich habe keine Freunde. (I do not have any friends.)

Es gibt keine Bananen. (There are no bananas.)

Ich habe keine Lampe. (I don’t have any lamps.)

Das ist kein Stuhl. (This is not a chair.)

Wir fahren kein Auto. (We don’t drive a car.)

Ich habe keinen Teppich. (I don’t have a carpet.)

derein Mannkein Mann
dieeine Fraukeine Frau
dasein Kindkein Kind
die/ Autoskeine Autos
Usage of ”kein/e” for different articles in German.

nicht vs kein/e

There are two basic rules to keep in mind when negating something in German:

(i): If the word is a noun, use “kein”

(ii): For all other parts of speech (e.g. verbs, adverbs, adjectives, possessive pronouns, prepositional phrases, definite articles), use “nicht.”

For nouns, simply use “kein” plus the appropriate ending based on gender of the noun it precedes.

For Example:

Das ist kein Apfel. (This is not an apple.)

Note in this example that there is no word immediately preceding “Apfel,” but, if a definite article were inserted, “nicht” could be used to negate which specific apple is being referred to:

For Example:

Das ist nicht der Apfel. (This is not the apple.)

nichts = nothing

It is also used sometimes in German language for negation.

Ich trinke nichts. (i don’t drink.)

Nein vs Nicht vs Kein Recap

NeinMeans no. Used to answer a question.
NichtNegates verbs, adjectives, and nouns with an indefinite article.
KeinNegates nouns.
Recap of Negation!

After reading this article I hope, you are aware of when to use “nein”, “nicht” and “kein” or “keine” and how to integrate them properly into a sentence.

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