Position of “nicht” – Exercise

Hello everyone,

and welcome a new episode of our mini e-course on how to awaken the potential within you and create the dream life you’ve always wanted to dream of but never dared dreaming for this world crushes dreams like it wants to make a dream Mojito. And today, we’ll practice one of the most important skills ever… saying NO!
No, I am not going to stay longer at the office. No, I do not enjoy watching Rom Coms. Fuck no, we do not have almond milk.
And no bro, I do not want not another beer.
Okay, seriously… of course this is not a life improvement blog. It’s a German improvement blog.
But we will practice to say “no”, because today we’ll have the third part of our mini series on

The Amazing Positions of nicht

Hoooooray!
In the first two parts, we’ve learned the theory and if you haven’t read them you should really check them out first.
“But Emanuel, we’ve had a chapter on that in our textbook, so I think I know the theor…”
Shush… you do not! Seriously, textbooks and courses have a really weird approach to the topic.
“But Emanuel, can I just try the exercise and see how it goes?”
Hmm… yeah, I guess you can do that. But for all those of you who want to check out my crazy, mind blowing explanations, here are the links:

The position of “nicht” 1 – One rule is enough, as long as you make crazy assumptions
The position of “nicht” 2 – Not what you’d expect a grammar explanation to be

Today, we’ll practice what we’ve learned, so let’s jump right in :)

Here’s what we’ll do:

I will give you 42 (reference alert) sentences that you have to negate in German by putting nicht somewhere (so no kein or nie or something).
Originally, I wanted to give you English sentences to translate but I soon found that for common stuff the phrasing is sometimes completely different in German. So I decided to also give you the non-negated version in German. So the English gives you the idea you want to express and the German sentence gives you a model where you just have to insert nicht somewhere.
Here’s how it looks:

  1. I am not eating my soup.          <- the sentence to say in German
    Ich esse meine Suppe.              <- the non-negated version in German, mainly for structure
    Ich esse meine Suppe nicht.  <- you’re doing this

With the exception of one or two or three examples, they all don’t have the negation focus on one particular element, so what you basically need to do is to put nicht into the neutral position, where it doesn’t create tension. If you don’t know what that is and how to find it… check out my explanations first ;).
We can then in the comments talk about what would happen if we move nicht around in a particular sentence, if you’re interested.
Oh and note that sometimes, there’s more than one correct answer. So more than one placement of nicht sounds neutral. So if your answer is not the same as mine but you don’t understand why… it might be correct as well, so just ask about it in the comments.

Remember… the main goal of this exercise is NOT that you get everything correctly. The main goal is to see where and why you fail and to confront you with certain situations that are tricky so we can clear it all up.

The solutions are as always in the audio and you can show them by tapping the button.
Also… viel Spaß :)

Work Out – Position of “nicht”


1.
I don’t understand that.
Ich verstehe das.
Ich verstehe das nicht .

 

2.
Promise me, that you won’t drink my beer!
Versprich mir, dass du mein Bier trinkst.
Versprich mir, dass du nicht mein Bier trinkst. 

 

3.
He doesn’t want to do that. 
Er will das machen.
Er will das nicht machen.

 

4.
I don’t like your new hair do.
Deine neue Frisur gefällt mir.
Deine neue Frisur gefällt mir nicht

 

5.
The wine is not tasty to me. 
Der Wein schmeckt mir.
Der Wein schmeckt mir nicht

 

6.
Maria is not going there today.
Maria geht heute dort hin.
Maria geht heute nicht dort hin.

 

7.
I wasn’t prepared for that.
Ich war darauf vorbereitet.
Ich war nicht darauf vorbereitet. 

 

8.
The website doesn’t show the price.
Die Webseite zeigt den Preis.
Die Webseite zeigt den Preis nicht .

 

9.
I don’t want to go home. 
Ich will nach Hause gehen.
Ich will nicht nach Hause gehen.

 

10.
I don’t like Instagram models.
Ich mag Instagram-Models.
Ich mag Instagram-Models nicht

 

11.
I didn’t think of it for long. 
Ich habe lange daran gedacht.
Ich habe nicht lange daran gedacht.

 

12.
It’s been a long time I haven’t thought of it.
Ich habe lange daran gedacht.
Ich habe lange nicht daran gedacht.

 

13.
Maria wants to learn not to be nervous before exams.
Maria will lernen, vor Prüfungen nervös zu sein.
Maria will lernen, vor Prüfungen nicht nervös zu sein.

 

14.
I don’t have to be at work on time.
Ich muss pünktlich auf Arbeit sein.
Ich muss nicht pünktlich auf Arbeit sein.

 

15.
I tried not to wake you up.
Ich habe versucht, dich zu wecken.
Ich habe versucht, dich nicht zu wecken.

 

16.
I didn’t try to wake you.
Ich habe versucht, dich zu wecken.
Ich habe nicht versucht, dich zu wecken. 

 

17.
I didn’t try not to drink your beer. 
Ich habe versucht, dein Bier zu trinken.
Ich habe nicht versucht, dein Bier nicht zu trinken.

 

18.
The aliens haven’t returned from the toilet.
Die Außerirdischen sind von der Toilette zurückgekommen.
Die Außerirdischen sind nicht von der Toilette zurückgekommen.

 

19.
I didn’t put the book on the table.
Ich habe das Buch auf den Tisch gelegt.
Ich habe das Buch nicht auf den Tisch gelegt.

 

20.
Niki is not going to university today. 
Niki geht heute zur Uni.
Niki geht heute nicht zur Uni. 

 

21.
I don’t get angry over those things.
Ich ärgere mich über solche Sachen.
Ich ärgere mich über solche Sachen nicht
*** half time :) ***
22.
I won’t eat your cake, I promise.
Ich werde deinen Kuchen essen, versprochen.
Ich werde deinen Kuchen nicht essen, versprochen.

 

23.
I didn’t drink your stupid craft IPA.
Ich habe dein blödes craft IPA getrunken.
Ich habe dein blödes craft IPA nicht getrunken.

 

24.
Maria doesn’t tell this story to her brother.
Maria erzählt diese Geschichte ihrem Bruder.
Maria erzählt diese Geschichte nicht ihrem Bruder.

 

25.
I couldn’t wait for the bus for an hour.
Ich konnte eine Stunde auf den Bus warten.
Ich konnte nicht eine Stunde auf den Bus warten.

 

26.
She didn’t mention it yesterday.
Sie hat es gestern erwähnt.
Sie hat es gestern nicht erwähnt.

 

27.
Babies are not being brought by the stork.
Babys werden vom Storch gebracht.
Babys werde nicht vom Storch gebracht.

 

28.
That doesn’t take longer than an hour.
Das dauert länger als eine Stunde.
Das dauert nicht länger als eine Stunde.

 

29.
I’m not especially interested in opera.
Ich bin besonders an Oper interessiert.
Ich bin nicht besonders an Oper interessiert.

 

30.
Excuse me, this wine is not red enough.
Entschuldigung, dieser Wein ist rot genug.
Entschuldigung, dieser Wein ist nicht rot genug.

 

31.
I don’t ask the sales person for the price.
Ich frage den Verkäufer nach dem Preis.
Ich frage den Verkäufer nicht nach dem Preis.

 

32.
Because of the meeting I don’t have to go to work before half past 11. 
Ich muss wegen dem Meeting vor halb 12 zur Arbeit gehen.
Ich muss wegen dem Meeting nicht vor halb zwölf zur Arbeit gehen.

 

33.
The Duohorn wasn’t at the dentist’s office yesterday.
Das Duohorn war gestern beim Zahnarzt.
Das Zweihorn war gestern nicht beim Zahnarzt.

 

34.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t bored during the TedTalk.
Überraschenderweise war ich während des TedTalks gelangweilt.
Überraschenderweise war ich während des TedTalks nicht gelangweilt.

 

35.
I knew that that doesn’t take three days.
Ich wusste, dass das drei Tage dauert.
Ich wusste, dass das nicht drei Tage dauert.

 

36.
I couldn’t sleep for an hour because of the noise. 
Ich konnte wegen dem Geräusch eine Stunde schlafen.
Ich konnte wegen dem Geräusch eine Stunde nicht schlafen.

 

37.
Because of the singing, I didn’t like the opera.
Die Oper hat mir wegen dem Gesang gefallen.
Die Oper hat mir wegen dem Gesang nicht gefallen.

 

38.
It’s not because of the singing that I liked the opera. 
Die Oper hat mir wegen dem Gesang gefallen.
Die Oper hat mir nicht wegen dem Gesang gefallen.

 

39.
Thomas doesn’t go on Facebook during work. (yeah right)
Thomas geht während der Arbeit auf Facebook.
Thomas geht während der Arbeit nicht auf Facebook. 

 

40.
After a month, I still can’t remember (memorize) the names of my co-workers.
Nach einem Monat kann ich mir immer noch die Namen meiner Kollegen merken.
Nach einem Monat kann ich mir immer noch nicht die Namen meiner Kollegen merken.

 

41.
Wow, the boss doesn’t sleep during the meeting for once.
Wow, der Chef schläft ausnahmsweise während des Meetings.
Der Chef schläft ausnahmsweise während des Meetings nicht .

 

42.
I had to really concentrate to not accidentally tell Thomas about the surprise party. 
Ich musste mich richtig konzentrieren, um Thomas aus Versehen etwas von der Überraschungsparty zu erzählen.
Ich musste mich richtig konzentrieren, um Thomas nicht aus Versehen etwas von der Überraschungsparty zu erzählen.

***

And? How’d you do? Was it difficult? How many did you get wrong? Do you have questions about any of the sentences?
Let me know all your feedback and questions in the comments.
I hope you liked it and see you next time.

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Elssita
Elssita
2 months ago

Thank for this mini serie. A thousand times. I’ve been learning German on and off and more or less seriously for a very long time but somehow, I had never seen any of this mentioned (or hadn’t paid attention, who knows). So, now that I’m back to it for real, it threw me in for a loop and down the rabbit hole. I got pretty frustrated, not gonna lie, but that’s part of the journey of learning a new language.

Anywhow, I got 14 wrong answers, I clarified most of them by revisiting them or thanks to all the comments and only one remains unanswered (sort of).

26 : Sie hat es nicht gestern erwähnt –> Sie has es gestern nicht erwähnt.

I think this is similar to n°20 when in English, it’s not super clear cut if where the emphasis is. So here in 26, I thought it was implied that she didn’t mention it today, but another day (therefore nicht in front of gestern) whereas your version is she didn’t mention it at all (nicht in front of erwähnt, negates the mentioning altogether).

Did I get this right ?

Heto27
Heto27
4 months ago

First of all, nice workout, as always. Thanks! Now, to the questions, a reasonable amount of them.

8 – Can’t the “nicht” come before “den Preis”? I thought that the object “What” to the verb “to show” would be strongly connected to it, so thinking from the side sentence point of view, the verb being the last position, shouldn’t we put “den Preis” close to it?

17 & 22 – The first “nicht” I got easily, but the second, I tried at first putting it before “dein Bier”. I guess it looks kinda weird with the nicht beginning the relative clause (if it is really a relative clause, I’m terrible at identifying them), but I think I was guided by your example with the five beers in the bar. It is the same doubt with example 22 and, actually, as I’m writing, I’m wondering if this is because of your post on Sentence Structure that says that when we have thing like “mein Bier” or “deinem Kuchen”, they are part of the scenery, since its implied we already know about them. Am I right? (if I am, it would be noice).

39 – (Nice audio, btw) This one I tried at first to put “nicht” before the “wahrend” part. My train of thought was something like, the way you put it, we are not negating the “during work” part, so it would be like “He doesn’t go on Facebook, but on Youtube”. Am I not right? (I am pobably not, but I have to ask)

Well, that’s it. Don’t get fooled by the small number of doubts. A big fraction of the exercises I got wrong, but kind of reasoned with the correct answers and got the idea.

Starbuck
Starbuck
8 months ago

Small grammatical thing:

You wrote, “Remember… the main goal of this exercise is NOT that you get everything correctly.”

To me it sounds wrong to use “correctly”. It should be either “answer everything correctly” or “get everything correct”, but I cannot work out why. It does also work with “right” i.e. “get everything right” sounds perfect but “get everything rightly” sounds SUPER wrong.

Having said that… “Answer everything rightly” also sounds fucked. So… I don’t understand my own language. Maybe it’s just idiomatic the way “get” is used in this context.

jannabeans
jannabeans
1 year ago

Hello hello!
This is my first comment so let me say that I have immensely enjoyed this blog so far. I tried a few different self-practice German language programs and the value of a real human behind the material makes such a huge difference. I love your sense of humor! Seriously, this blog is my saving grace, so thank you.

I made 15 errors my first go, but I understand most of those mistakes from revisiting core principals and reading the other comments, so I’m down to 3:

My answers –> correct answer

16) Ich habe versucht, dich zu wecken nicht. –> Ich habe nicht versucht, dich zu wecken.

20) Niki geht heute zur Uni nicht. –> Niki geht heute nicht zur Uni.

24) Maria erzahlt diese Geschichte ihrem Bruder nicht. –> Maria erzahlt diese Geschichte nicht ihrem Bruder.

I am having trouble understanding when the verb can be negated by itself (thus the whole sentence operates as one unit) and nicht can go to the end.

jannabeans
jannabeans
1 year ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Okay, ich verstehe ein bisschen besser!

Thank you so much :)

AlexP1960
AlexP1960
1 year ago

Thank you very much for your expanations and the exercise. I like your idea of explaining the word order in German very much. It really-really helps. From now one I will always try to think about the real news in a german sentence. Put “nicht” right before the real news is just yey-opening. It is interesting that I heard once something completely different (put the most important things first) but that obviously contradicts to the verb at the end.

Did you invent this bunch of ideas yourself? If yes, you should patent them:)

Could you clarify just question about 41 please?

Why is “ausnahmsweise während des Meetings” not part of the news?

AlexP1960
AlexP1960
1 year ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Emanuel, I got it, thank you!

I think I can explain where my mistake was:

I wanted to move “nicht” in front of “ausnahmsweise” because I wanted to highlight this word which I think is a real news:

Everybody knows that normally the boss sleeps at the meetings. The real news is that this time (ausnahmsweise) he did not.

What I did not understand is that instead I was actually negating this word getting as a result quite the opposite (“saying what he did was not “sleeping for once” but just “sleeping as usual”).

I think that in my native language (russian) I would also put “nicht” in front of the verb but I would put an emphasis (verbally) on the “ausnahmsweise”.

Sir Bob
Sir Bob
1 year ago

The solutions are as always in the audio and you can show them by tapping the button.

Unfortunately this isn’t working for me :/ if I clicked the buttons, they would hide the answer instead of showing it, so I had to slowly scroll to not get spoiled…

but no worries about that, because the exercise was excellent! I think I got 80% of them right, and when did I got them wrong, it was mostly because I didn’t divide the sentence well between the scenery and the news, so every time I got them wrong, I would calibrate my intuition in dividing the sentences even more!

Great “mini-series” Emmanuel, it helped me a lot! :D

Sir Bob
Sir Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Emanuel

I’m using Chrome on PC. Oh, and also the top bar of the site seems to be scattered all over (https://imgur.com/cYApINK)

Sir Bob
Sir Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Now it’s working perfectly! Danke schön!

Germanyisprettyneat88
Germanyisprettyneat88
2 years ago

My alternative/wrong answers (I am truly a novice learner so forgive me):

2: “Versprich mir, dass du mein Bier nicht trinkst.”
(To me this seems correct too, like saying they can’t *drink* my beer, versus they can’t drink *my beer*. In 17, 22, and 23 you even mirrored this)

15: “Ich habe versucht, dich zu nicht wecken”
(I think my answer here is wrong, but is it wrong…? Maybe I tried not to *wake* you, but to idk, give you a heart transplant? And would it be wrong to put nicht right at the end?)

19: “Ich habe das Buch auf den Tisch nicht gelegt”
(Why do I want so badly to only negate the verb? Lol. Definitely my English brain. And according to it this seems quite ok depending on the context)

24: “Maria erzählt nicht diese Geschichte ihrem Bruder”
(I wanted to put emphasis on the book, despite it feeling unnatural. I feel like it works better if the objects swap places, in which case I feel like nicht could also go at the end)

31: “Ich frage nicht den Verkäufer nach dem Preis”
(Again, I just kinda assumed the salesperson is dodgy therefore you don’t ask *them* in particular. I guess technically you could switch the objects, but it feels weird to me)

36: “Ich konnte wegen dem Geräusch nicht eine Stunde schlafen.”
(you: I could not sleep for an hour vs me: I could not sleep for even one hour? So I was wrong, given the presumed meaning)

RogerH
3 years ago

Guten Tag

“Thinking about it for long” can have two meanings Lange darüber nachdenken kann zwei Bedeutungen haben

1. The time spent during the actual thinking process 1. Die Zeit, die während des eigentlichen Denkprozesses verbracht wurde.
2. The elapsed time since the last time thinking about something 2. Die verstrichene Zeit seit dem letzten Mal, als ich über etwas nachdachte.

Maybe some of the following sentences will (1) help or (2) confuse ? Vielleicht helfen einige der folgenden Sätze (1) helfen oder (2) verwirren ?

I’ve been thinking about it for a long time Ich habe lange darüber nachgedacht.
I’ve not been thinking about it for a long time Ich habe lange Zeit nicht mehr darüber nachgedacht.

I’ve been thinking about a great deal for a long time Ich habe lange Zeit über sehr viel nachgedacht.
I’ve not been thinking about it a great deal for a long time Ich habe lange Zeit nicht viel darüber nachgedacht.

I thought about it very long Ich habe sehr lange darüber nachgedacht.
I didn’t think about it very long Ich habe nicht lange darüber nachgedacht.

I thought about it for a long time Ich habe lange darüber nachgedacht.
I didn’t think about it for much time Ich habe lange Zeit nicht darüber nachgedacht.

I thought about it a long time ago Ich habe vor langer Zeit darüber nachgedacht.
I didn’t think about it a long time ago Ich habe vor langer Zeit nicht darüber nachgedacht.

I spent much time thinking about it Ich verbrachte viel Zeit damit, darüber nachzudenken.
I didn’t spend much time thinking about it Ich habe nicht viel Zeit damit verbracht, darüber nachzudenken.

I spent much time thinking about a long time ago Ich habe viel Zeit damit verbracht, über eine lange Zeit nachzudenken.
I didn’t spend much time thinking about it a long time ago Ich habe vor langer Zeit nicht viel Zeit damit verbracht, darüber nachzudenken.

Bitte korrigieren Sie mein Deutsch

With Best Wishes Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Roger

RogerH
3 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

I am a stupid native English speaker who made some stupid English mistakes.

Here is one example :-
I left out “it” from the following sentence :-
I’ve been thinking about it a great deal for a long time.
When corrected to include “it” I get this German :-
Ich habe lange Zeit viel darüber nachgedacht.

When that is made negative I get :-
I’ve not been thinking about it a great deal for a long time
Implying :-
1. A long time ago I thought about it a lot (a great deal = a lot)
2. But it is a long time (many years ago) since I have thought about it

Does the German cover both these meanings, or is there a better way to say both meanings in German?

Thank you … A stupid English man who apologises for the incredibly stupid Brexit people.
Vielen Dank … Ein dummer Engländer, der sich für die unglaublich dummen Brexit-Leute entschuldigt.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 years ago

12 wrong. Like the dative after wegen!
Good workout thanks.

ozlem gun eryilmaz
ozlem gun eryilmaz
3 years ago

thank you wonderful work

Leandro
Leandro
3 years ago

I recently got an email from Emanuel saying that he signed me up for a year, and that’s because of all you guys… Now i’ll be one step closer to learn german in a constant way and I just wanted to thank you all guys for the support you’re giving me, by the way great post Emanuel!

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin
3 years ago

I watched German with Jenny’s video on Kein vs. Nicht, read both of your posts again (Parts 1 and 2) and ACED the workout above. While I found Jenny’s to be complicated, it did help me to “feel” more intuitively everything in this post.

Haven’t found any Kein vs Nicht or Nicht-placement on Easy German. Can’t get enough of this exercise – need to really review so that it “sits intuitively”. Loved this one. Plan on doing it a few times a week – great practice.

Is it only me, or is #10 a typical “kein” sentence? Ich mag keine Instagram-Models. Oder?

peterlobl
peterlobl
3 years ago

hi E!

excellent adventure into neutral negativland !

some questions if i may:

21:

is there a difference in meaning between:

a) Ich ärgere mich über solche Sachen nicht

b) Ich ärgere mich nicht über solche Sachen.

*i imagine b) could have a “sondern über blah blah blah”
but could a) as well ?

24:

Maria erzählt diese Geschichte nicht ihrem Bruder.

This is about not telling “the story” to the brother, or?

whereas:

Maria erzählt nicht diese Geschichte ihrem Bruder.

would emphasize she told him a different story than the one previously referenced?

31:

Ich frage den Verkäufer nicht nach dem Preis. //
Oh aber ich frage den Verkäufer nach dem Preis nicht!

Would putting nicht at the end be something psycho, like…

“I don’t ask the salesperson for the price. i tell them!”

36: I couldn’t sleep for an hour because of the noise.

it could mean:
A) I wanted to sleep for (specifcially) an hour, but could not because of the noise.
or
B) For an hour I was prevented from sleeping because of the noise.
or
C) I really couldn’t get any sleep because of the f’in noise.

B) is typically what would be meant,

but if C)

would it be:
Ich konnte wegen dem Geräusch nicht eine Stunde schlafen.

or “keine Stunde(n) schlafen” ?

41:

Der Chef schläft ausnahmsweise während des Meetings nicht.
vs.
Der Chef schläft ausnahmsweise nicht während des Meetings.

would the second senence imply that the boss typically sleeps in many other places, just exceptionally not at this particular meeting?

I vaguely remember some rule with genitive phrases and the placement of nicht.. but what it might have said – keine Ahnung.

42:
Ich musste mich richtig konzentrieren, um Thomas nicht aus Versehen etwas von der Überraschungsparty zu erzählen.
vs.
Ich musste mich richtig konzentrieren, um Thomas aus Versehen nicht etwas von der Überraschungsparty zu erzählen.

would the second sentence imply I will accidentally tell Thomas stuff – just not about the party (due to my heroic concentration skills)
would the second sentence even make sense?

also:
Ich musste mich richtig konzentrieren, um Thomas nicht aus Versehen etwas von der Überraschungsparty zu erzählen… sondern absichtlich.

I guess the “aus Versehen” is strongly linked to the rest of the info, which is why the nicht comes before it.

Grazie – Danke – Thank U!

PS possibly relevant video —
they were popular when I was in Graz many moons ago

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Glu9wA4HjE0

Elsa
Elsa
3 years ago

Hi, Emanuel,
Thanks for this huuuuge workout, I won’t do it yet because I have a German test at my language school tomorrow and don’t wanna get all confused… but I’ll do it afterwards!
Typo alert of the week:
“I do not want not another beer” – I think you mean you do not want another beer (unless, of course, you do!!)
Looking forward to the Advent Calendar :)

Elsa
Elsa
3 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

99% :)))))))))))))))))))))))))) (partly thanks to you!)

Tony Mountifield
3 years ago

Why “wegen dem Meeting”, and not “wegen des Meetings”?

Vlad Tamas
3 years ago

33 – I see what you did there!

vlad
vlad
3 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Well, in the email you promised no more Unicorns :) but you found a loophole

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin
3 years ago

Wow! This rocks!

Showing below where I wanted to put NICHT on the ones I got wrong – perhaps you could give me a nudge in the right direction – how should I be thinking instead?

2) I want to put NICHT just before TRINKST “Versprich mir, dass du mein Bier NICHT trinkst.” Gotta work on the theory behind that one.
7) I want to put NICHT before VORBERITET. “Ich war darauf NICHT vorbereitet.”
19) Could it also be “Ich habe das Buch auf den Tisch NICHT gelegt.”?
21) Could it also be “Ich ärgere mich NICHT über solche Sachen.”?

Taking a half-time break. Später!

Jake
Jake
3 years ago

This is great practice! I’d be interested to hear the reasoning on 2, 7, and 24. Your answer to 2 seems inconsistent with your answers to 17 and 22.

Also, the German text is missing for 12 and 38.

Jake
Jake
3 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Yep, makes sense, thanks.

aoind
aoind
3 years ago

So I struggled with 20, 21, 25, 31, 32, 36, 40 & 42. Been through it twice now and those are the ones I got wrong two times running. I’m kinda hoping those are the ones where the nicht is a little bit mobile…

aoind
aoind
3 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Sure thing Emanuel. So with 20 I was thinking “nicht heute” as in she goes to uni usually, just “not today” and I can’t get that association out of my head no matter how many times I read it. I guess in German that probably reads as “It’s not today she goes to University but (some other day)” but my mind yoga is half an inch short of the back of my ankles there.

For 25 I went for “nicht wartern”, negating the whole sentence but I can kind of see that we want to illustrate how it’s the hour aspect to the whole thing that is the problem.

For 31 I stuck “nicht” at the end. I just can’t help processing “…nicht nach dem Preis” like “I asked the salesman not for the price (but for something else instead)”.

32 I get now.

36 is like the opposite problem of 25. I put the “nicht” in front of “eine Stunde”. I was thinking “not for an hour could I sleep”. Like I’m trying to ape German logic (incorrectly) and screwing up again.

40 I get now. “noch nicht”.

So there you have it. I feel like I’m getting close here. Just a few niggles.

berlingrabers
berlingrabers
3 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

I can relate on some of these.

20: I think this might be an issue with German vs. English – to me, “Niki is not going to university today” is certainly pretty neutral, but “today” still has more weight than I think the German version would have. So I tend to want to make it “Niki geht nicht heute zur Uni” because my brain feels like the rest of the thought is “…even though she usually goes on Thursdays” or something like that.

32: This just seems like a slightly odd sentence to me. I’d expect the thought to be expressed with “Ich muss wegen dem Meeting erst um halb zwölf zur Arbeit gehen”, so trying to work a “nicht” in there is a little weird to begin with. You’d be way more likely to use “until” in English too. My tendency would be to see “muss…zur Arbeit gehen” as the news, with “vor halb zwölf” as part of the scenery, and make it “Ich muss wegen dem Meeting vor halb zwölf nicht zur Arbeit gehen.”

40: Maybe this is just English-brain interference, but I tend to want this sentence to go: “Nach einem Monat kann ich mir die Namen meiner Kollegen immer noch nicht merken”, keeping “still can’t remember” all together as a unit. So it’s hard for any placement of “nicht” in the sentence as written to feel natural.

peterlobl
peterlobl
3 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Thinking of 32:
“Ich muss wegen dem Meeting vor halb 12 nicht zur Arbeit gehen.”

If this were the sentence, wouldn’t it mean that I don’t have to go to work (at all) today, because of the meeting before 11:30?