The Position of “nicht” – Part 1

nicht-position-germanHello everyone,

and welcome to a new episode of the German is Easy – Learn German Online Course. And this time we’ll have a look at the perfect topic for a hot summer day:

the position of “nicht”

There are lots of explanations out there, on blogs and on Youtube, so why is it still such an issue for many learners. Well, it’s because all these sources do not know what they’re talking about.
Okay, to be fair… the stuff about sentence negation vs element negation, is not all wrong, but it gets really confusing once you look closer. Because just like with sentence structure, the standard material kind of fails to look under the hood. It explains symptoms, not the cause.

So we’ll try a slightly different approach, one that captures the underlying mechanics.

Seriously though, my approach is pretty AWESOME because all we need to understand the position of nicht is one rule. And the best thing is: this rule has no exceptions. WOW!!
Oh and we also need a very very open mind for this to work.
So get yourself a coffee, a tea, a beer or a cigar and lets jump right into the wonderful world of saying NO in German.

Many of you probably know or have at least heard that German has two kinds of sentence structures. The main sentence structure, with the verb in the second position and then the side sentence structure. That’s the one you all hate. You know, the one you see after words like dass and weil, the one with a all the verbs at the end.

  • Ich trinke heute ein leckeres Bier. (main sentence)
  • … , dass ich heute ein leckeres Bier trinke. (side sentence)

For the average learner, the main sentence structure is the normal structure and the side sentences are just a (per)version of it.
Well, get ready for an idea that is crazy but also great.

A really crazy idea (that’s also great)

What if I told you that the side sentence structure is actually the true structure of a German sentence. You’re probably like “Please god, noooo!!” And I know that sounds grisly but bear with me please.
If you really want to get a handle on word order, you have to look at side sentences. Word order is much stricter in side sentence and it is there that the underlying structure of German really shows.
Instead of thinking of the main sentence as the normal one, we should think of it as a side sentence with two extra slots in the beginning and these slots get filled with stuff you take out of its normal position.
One of the slots, the second one, gets filled with part of the verb, the other is kind of a wild card slot and can take pretty much any one element. Let’s do an example.

  • …, dass ich heute in die Bar gegangen bin.

I don’t want to dive into word order too much so just take my word for it… this is the normal order of these elements and you cannot switch for example heute and ich without creating so much tension that the result sounds almost wrong.
Now lets make that into a main sentence. We’ll remove the dass because it’s just a connector and add the two extra slots

  • [Extra 1] [Extra 2 ] ich heute in die Bar gegangen bin.

And now lets fill the extra slots. Extra 2 gets the verb from the end, extra 1 can take any one thing pretty much.

  • [Extra slot 1] [extra slot 2] [natural order of elements]
  • [Ich] [bin] ich heute in die Bar gegangen bin.
  • [Heute] [bin] ich heute in die Bar gegangen bin.
  • [In die Bar] [bin] ich heute in die Bar gegangen bin.

In a way, all the different main sentence version are just a result of us taking out different elements out of their “natural” position and putting them in the first slot and it’s much easier to analyze the side sentence because there are no “out of line” slots.
Cool.
Now, when it comes to the position of nicht, there’s one slot in particular that matters… the verb slot.
Most people think, that the standard position for the verb is the second one. With our way of looking at it here, the verb slot is actually at the very end and in main sentences we’re taking out something from that slot and put it into position 2.
And this way of looking at things is the key to the fundamental rule nicht.

The one basic rule

In standard lore, they make a distinction between two kinds of nicht-negations. One is called element negation and it’s done by putting nicht in front of the element you want to negate, the other one is called sentence negation, where the sentence as a whole gets negated. And for sentence negation, nicht comes at the end… or at least as late as possible.

  • Ich werde nicht morgen nach Berlin fahren. (“element negation”)
  • Tomorrow is not the day I will go Berlin.
  • Ich arbeite heute nicht. (“sentence negation”)
  • I’m not working today.

But making this distinction between two kinds of nicht-negations with two sets of rules for the position sucks. It makes things more complicated than they are and does NOT reflect the inner workings of the language.
The only, an absolute rule for the position of nicht is this:

“Nicht” precedes what it negates.

And that’s it.
But what about the sentences with the nicht at the end?

  • Ich arbeite heute nicht.

Isn’t this an exception?? Like… nicht doesn’t precede anything here, right? But this is where our groundwork comes into play. Because nicht actually ISN’T at the end. It is in front of the verb slot. Only that the verb slot is empty because we took out the content and moved it into the extra slot.

  • Ich arbeite heute nachmittag nicht [ verb slot – empty]

Once we put the sentence into side sentence mode we can see it.

  • …, dass ich heute nachmittag nicht [arbeite.]

Booom, nicht is NOT at the end anymore because under the hood it never was. It just happened to be the last word.

  • …, dass ich heute nachmittag [arbeite] nicht…. WRONG!!

This is super wrong. Nicht ALWAYS precedes what it negate so it can NEVER come at the end of a side sentence.

And that’s not all. We now also have a perfectly logical reason why nicht doesn’t come after prefixes or ge-forms or other verbs. Because those sit in the final verb slot.

  • Ich schlafe heute [aus] nicht WRONG!
  • Ich schlafe heute nicht [aus]… correct
  • Ich habe heute [geschlafen] nichtWRONG!
  • Ich habe heute nicht [geschlafen].
  • Ich kann heute [schlafen] nicht… WRONG!
  • Ich kann heute nicht [schlafen].

And it’s not only helpful with that. You see, if nicht precedes what it negates that also implies that anything coming before nicht is NOT negated. And that can help for instance understand the difference between the following two

  • Ich schwimme nicht gern.
  • Ich schwimme gerne nicht.

Both are correct but only one is the proper translation for “I don’t like swimming”. Any idea which one? It’s the first one. And when we put them in side sentence mode, it becomes obvious.

  • …, dass ich nicht gern schwimme.
  • …, dass ich gern nicht schwimme.

The word that expresses the liking is gern, and in the second version gern comes before nicht so it is NOT negated. The second sentence actually means

  • I do like not swimming.

So our one basic rule can already clear up quite a bit. And by the way.. it totally holds for the kein-negations, too. Because kein is nothing other than a contraction of a negation particle and ein.

  • nicht ein Bier
  • nichein Bier
  • nickein Bier
  • n’kein Bier
  • Hodor…. wait, who said that

Cool.

So this our basic rule. But as awesome as it is, it’s not enough to help with the whole scope of the position of nicht and all the various “What the hell” moments there are. Just to give you two examples…

  • Ich rede mit Maria im Zoo nicht…. super correct :)
  • Ich bin mit Maria im Zoo nicht…. SUPER WRONG :[
  • Ich habe immer noch nicht den neuen Song von Rhianna gehört…. super correct :)
  • Ich habe immer noch nicht ihn gehört…. SUPER WRONG :[

Tricky stuff right? I mean… whyyyyyy. For these things we need to use our brains.
To really understand the positioning of nicht and when to put it where, we now need to work with that rule using an open mind and common sense. Yeah, I know… some sort of “If-A-put-nicht-here,-if-B-put-it-there” -thing would be easier but it would also be kinda boring. Just like this famous chocolate.
What? Yes , I did spend some time on Photoshop just for this dumb joke. Oh well, the things I do for laugh.

So, to properly place nicht, we need to get an understanding of what I call a default negation.

The neutral negation

In German but also in other languages there are more than one way to add a negative to a sentence. What I call neutral negation is the version that does not have a special focus. I guess you could call it “sentence negation” but I’d rather not… I find the term really confusing.
Anyway, here’s an example

  • Thomas didn’t check his mails today.
  • Thomas didn’t check HIIIIS mails today.

The first one is a neutral negation. There’s no special focus on anything. In the second one on the other hand, the negation specifically targets “his”. That’s what’s being negated, implying that Thomas might have read someone else’s. Probably Maria’s. I mean… it’s her own fault. She could just change her passw… but I digress.
So to really master negation in a language you need to get a feel for what the neutral negation is and how to create special focus.
English, at least in spoken, keeps one structure and relies on aural emphasis for the focusing.
In German it’s a little more complex.
German, too, uses aural emphasis, but also the position of
nicht, can create special focus. Can, not must.
In longer sentences, several positions can sound neutral depending how you say it. And which positions are how neutral doesn’t only depend on the sentence… it actually friggin’ depends on the context in which the sentence is said, on the intention of the speaker

  1. …, dass nicht Thomas gestern mit Maria im Zoo war.
  2. …, dass Thomas nicht gestern mit Maria im Zoo war.
  3. … , dass Thomas gestern nicht mit Maria im Zoo war.
  4. …, dass Thomas gestern mit Maria nicht im Zoo war.
  5. …, dass Thomas gestern mit Maria im Zoo nicht war.

Number 1 is not neutral at all and has a clear focus on Thomas, for 2 and 3 it depends on how it’s said and the context of conversation whether it’s a focused negation or not, number 4 is pretty neutral but it implies that Thomas did something with Maria and number 5 is … pretty much wrong.

  1. …, that it wasn’t Thomas who was at the zoo with Maria yesterday.
  2. … that it wasn’t yesterday that Thomas was at the zoo with Maria.
    … that Thomas WASN’T at the zoo with Maria yesterday.
  3. … that it wasn’t Maria with whom Thomas was at the zoo yesterday.
    … that Thomas wasn’t at the zoo with Maria yesterday.
  4. … that Thomas wasn’t at the ZOO with Maria yesterday.
    ... that Thomas wasn’t at the zoo with Maria yesterday. (most neutral)
  5. … (not translatable)

God daaaaamn…. now you’re probably like “How am I supposed to learn that.” But it’s not as bad as it seems. All we need is common sense, and the idea of scenery.
By scenery I basically mean the setting, the “world” about which we learn something in the sentence that has the negation. And because that’s super abstract, let’s do an example.

  • I don’t STUDY at the library.

Using aural emphasis… well… bold font… we’ve focused the negation specifically on the verb to study here. The other elements (“I”, “at the library”) are NOT touched by the negation. And those elements are the “scenery“. Me at the library, that’s the scenery we learn something about and what we learn is that studying is NOT what I do there.
So, anything that is not touched by the negation is the scenery. And in part two we’ll see the power of this scenery stuff because it’ll help us clear up everything.
Now you’re like “Wait… in part 2? So we have to wait a week?”
Well, actually no… you’ll have to wait more than a week :).
Yeah… I know you hate me right now. But seriously, I want part 2 to be good and make sense so I’m not gonna rush it. And I think we’ve a lot to digest already.
Let me know in the comments if the stuff made sense so far or if you have any questions. Do you think it’s any good? Also, what are your experiences with the “standard” book explanation. Does that work for you? And let me know if there are any things in particular that you don’t understand about the position of nicht so we can talk about it in part 2.

I’m out for now… I wish you a wonderful week, I hope you enjoyed it and see you next time.

Further reading:

If you liked the stuff about side sentence and you want to find out WHY that kind of is the natural structure, then check out part one of my post on word order:

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Bissell
Bissell
3 months ago

Ahh. I just typed up a large question, but wasn’t logged in. After I submitted, I logged in, aber die Frage fehlte. :( It would be from ‘anonymous’ vor 10 Minuten.

Anonymous
Anonymous
3 months ago

I am always trying to correlate what is presented here at YDG with the skills and drills of the great, all powerful, evil Duo Lingo (hereby referred to as only DL).
One sentence that keeps coming up in my rotation is:
Ich kann nächstes Wochenende keinen Marathon laufen.
I am looking at this sentence and its negation. I realize this has no nicht, but it has a kein…and close enough for me to ask the question here in the ‘nicht’ section.
The position of the negation (for me) says that I am not really ready to run a marathon per se, but other things are possible. Vielleicht joggen 5k oder Ich kaufe nächstes Wochenende schuhe ins Kaufhaus ein.
Versus:
Ich kann nächstes Wochenende nicht laufen.
Yes, I took out the Marathon, but does this now shift the statement to imply a broader reason for NOT RUNNING at all. i.e. fuß gebrochen, ich habe schon pläne, zw.
What about: Ich kann nächstes Wochenende einen Marathon nicht laufen.
Does that have any place at all in the language, and how would that compare to the examples above. Thank you.

Gorlami
Gorlami
4 months ago

I’m a little confused about the last example.
“dass Thomas gestern mit Maria im Zoo nicht war”
You mention this version is not even translatable.

But it seems like this should be the correct / most neutral version, as in the example given previously: “… , dass ich gerne nicht schwimme

So, nicht goes before what it negates, we are trying to say that Thomas was NOT at the blah blah blah..

Did I miss something?

Thutrang
Thutrang
6 months ago

omg ok german is more complicated than I thought :). Anyway thank you Emanuel for this new perception and an amazing article. Really nice

Anonymous
Anonymous
10 months ago

I was with you until I tried a translation from written English to German.

English: I am giving my father the money

German 1: Ich gebe meinem Vater das Geld nicht

German 2: Ich gebe nicht meinem Vater das Geld

German 3: Ich gebe meinem Vater nicht das Geld

In my limited understanding they all look like correct translations. But are they? Is a subordinate sentence needed to give context in the last two examples to “make” them correct or are they a correct sentence structure on their own?

Doc Holliday
Doc Holliday
11 months ago

First time in my experience anyone has gone “under the hood”.
Super useful.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 months ago

So, if nicht is at the end of a main sentence, what does it negate? By the logic that nicht precedes what it negates, nicht doesn’t negate anything when it is at the end of a sentence, does it? Let’s take a look at an example: “Ich schwimme gerne nicht.”. So by the “nicht precedes what it negates” logic, nicht doesn’t negate anything here (unless we put the sentence in side sentence mode, then it negates the verb). Is it then same saying: “Ich schwimme gerne nicht.” and “Ich schwimme gerne.” because nicht doesn’t make an impact on the rest of the sentence (which it doesn’t precede, thus it doesn’t negate it)?

Sasha
Sasha
1 year ago

Without the second part, this one left me quite puzzled.

After I had read this part, I expected than in these 5 sentences:

(1) …, dass nicht Thomas gestern mit Maria im Zoo war.

(2) …, dass Thomas nicht gestern mit Maria im Zoo war.

(3) …, dass Thomas gestern nicht mit Maria im Zoo war.

(4) …, dass Thomas gestern mit Maria nicht im Zoo war.

(5) …, dass Thomas gestern mit Maria im Zoo nicht war.

#5 is a neutral negation and #1-#4 are accented negations (like specifically negating Thomas — “it was not Thomas who…”, specifically negating yesterday — “it was not yesterday when…”, specifically negating Maria — “it was not Maria with whom…” and specifically negating zoo — “it was not zoo where…”).

Happily, the second part have made it much more clear.

Yair
Yair
2 years ago

…, dass nicht Thomas gestern mit Maria im Zoo war.( the nicht at the beginning seems rather odd to me)
…, dass Thomas gestern mit Maria im Zoo nicht war.
Sorry, perhaps i am an idiot…yet, i don’t understand why the first sentence is right and the last one is wrong..

Maria
Maria
1 year ago
Reply to  German-is-easy

Hi Emmanuel, this is a great blog and you are giving wonderful explanations. I am really grateful for that.
I have some questions while trying to follow this reasoning of “nicht” negates what it precedes and it does not negate what it does not precede. I also read Part 2 but still I have some doubts.

For example:

A)
dass ich heute nicht arbeite —> The scenery is me today and the big news is that I don’t work. So weit so gut :)

Then what it’s the problem with this:
dass ich nicht heute arbeite —> The scenery is me and we have 2 possible interpretations:
1) we negate only “heute”, so it goes something like: “it is not today when I work” (I worked yesterday and tomorrow, but not today)
2) we negate “heute arbeite”, so it would be: “I don’t work today”
Both options make sense to me, but this option “dass ich nicht heute arbeite” seems not be valid or at least I have not seen it at all.

B)
According to a previous comment with the Fornite spielen, I understood that the following two options are valid and correct

  • dass ich nicht Tennis spiele —> (we negate Tennis and/or spiele, so, “I play something but not Tennis” or just “I don’t play Tennis)
  • dass ich Tennis nicht spiele —> (we negate only spiele, so “I don’t play Tennis, but for example I may watch it”)

Which makes sense that both options are correct.

C)
And the last one:

“dass ich Tennis nicht verstehe” —> this is the classical one and we have me and Tennis in the scene and the big news is that I don’t understand it

dass ich nicht Tennis verstehe —> this is one I have never seen used, but following this logic would be negating Tennis and/or “verstehe”. And both of them make sense to me:

  • if negating “Tennis”, it’s me and my understanding of life in the scene and Tennis is not part of it
  • if negating “Tennis verstehe”, it’s me and not understanding Tennis

So, both versions are correct or not? I assume that the second is not because I have never seen it but I don’t understand why. Or maybe I am not following properly your logic.

Sorry for the long question and I apologize if the question is super silly, but I hate studying things by hard and that’s why I love your blog: things should make sense (at least most of the times) and that’s the best way of learning.

Thanks again!

Maria
Maria
1 year ago
Reply to  German-is-easy

Hi Emmanuel,

Many many thanks for your prompt response, again I really appreciate it.
Yes, these explanations were really helpful :)
It is interesting to see that:

– …, dass ich kein Deutsch verstehe.

as you said, here the negation is before the object and the following part is considered as an unit, while the version with nicht would be:

– …, dass ich nicht Deutsch verstehe. (as far as I understood from your previous answer would not be wrong but unusual, as the tennis example. And here the negation is only to Deutsch, because the part after the nicht is not super strong bound together and it is not a unit. And therefore the meaning would be like: it’s me and my understanding of the world in the scene and Deutsch is not part of it, like saying “It exists something else in this life that I understand and that is indeed not german”, which yeah is not the usual idea, because here the big news is that you are able to understand something in this world which is not german, like you know how to count up to ten, clearly not the big news that you don’t understand german, so kind of makes sense. Not sure if I have overanalyzed here the sentence but I hope that’s right haha)

and that the usual one would be:

– …, dass ich Deutsch nicht verstehe. (it’s me and german in the scene and the news is that I don’t understand it, maybe I read it)

I want to remark that your style of teaching and communicating is fantastic, the whole idea of mixing history, linguistics, current language usage, idiomatic expressions, common sense, deep explanations about the inner workings of the language and humor is really what a student needs.
And that’s why I think that kids are able to learn in this world, they ask “why” many many times because they want to get to the core and understand how something really works.
But somehow when we grow and become adults, we just settle with a plain and shallow explanation of the things, which it is kind of a dogma not to be discussed (and yes makes sense if you think about the speed and time it takes to gain new knowledge like that).
So yeah, I guess that a trade off between a deep understanding, some exceptions here and there, a bit of intuition, getting used to stuff and developing a long term sprachgefühl is the key.

Many thanks again and I will try not to bug you that much unless I cannot sleep whenever I don’t understand something in german.

P.S.: I will try next times to write in german, let’s see how it goes :)

trackback

[…] Devo absolutamente esta teoria ao blog Your Daily German. Eu dei uma adaptada da ideia dele aqui, mas é genial. Se você lê inglês, os posts dele são excelentes. Aqui está minha fonte para este post: <https://yourdailygerman.com/position-nicht-german/&gt;. […]

Rebecca L Healy
Rebecca L Healy
3 years ago

You. My Friend. Are A Genius!
Vielen Dank. It’s a whole newww wooorrllld. A new fantastic point of view! :^)

billyd
billyd
3 years ago

Good explanation so far. It has explained an aspect of German grammar and syntax that for me is more complicated than the cases.

인정선
인정선
3 years ago

I don’t think I’m clear on something.

“Ich kann heute schlafen nicht.”

For this sentence, isn’t one negating ‘kann’?
If so, shouldn’t the sentence be
“Ich nicht kann heute schlafen nicht.”

Also, why is sentence 5 wrong? Doesn’t it mean, “Thomas wasn’t in the zoo with Maria yesterday.”? (Negation concentrated on the verb WAR, as ‘nicht’ is in front of ‘war’.)

I’m quite new to German, so this would probably be a very simple misunderstanding. However, I am unable to find an explanation for this problem! I’d be grateful if you could help me understand.

인정선
인정선
3 years ago
Reply to  German-is-easy

Oh there was a typo! Well nonetheless, your explanations for both questions were very clear (like your article) and they help a lot! I didn’t know that the modal verb and the normal verb forms a unit that does not tend to be separated.
Unfortunately, I haven’t read part 2 because I reached my two free articles limit, but part 1 helped a lot already!
Thanks a lot!

Pax
Pax
3 years ago

I’m late to the party but better late than never, I guess. First off, congratulations on the amazing job you’re doing with your articles and, more importantly, on explaining notions your own particular way, that is often better than textbook explanations – and this coming from a lifelong language teacher.
Now to my question – I read both your articles on the position of ‘nicht’ in a sentence and realized I tend to make the same mistake over and over again, namely: I regularly put ‘nicht’ just before the verb, as opposed to what you wrote about neutral position of ‘nicht’, where it should precede both the verb and and its object.
And so it happened that only yesterday I did it again when I wanted to say what happens if one of my students does not give me cards he was playing with. So I started the sentence saying: “Wenn du mir die Karten nicht gibst, …”. And then it came to me that in line with what you wrote, I should have said: “Wenn du mir nicht die Karten gibst, …”. But then, you also wrote that I should use ‘nicht’ intuitively and the option number two sounds to me so unintuitive that I just can’t get myself to say it.
So, just to make sure: is the sentence number two (‘nicht’ before ‘die Karten’) really correct way of saying what I wanted to express?

Hanka
Hanka
3 years ago

Thanks for the “nicht” series, it’s been very interesting and helpful. I only have one question: I’ve discussed the following example with a couple of German friends: “Ich schwimme nicht gern./Ich schwimme gerne nicht.” and they both told me that the second sentence is wrong, nothing but wrong and always wrong. When I suggested the “I do like not swimming” meaning, they insisted that it still made no sense. (I mean, it IS kind of weird in English, too, although I can imagine a scenario in which it could probably make sense).
Yet you write that it’s correct. So – is it only “correct” in a philosophical sense, to prove a grammar point, but totally useless in real life?

aoind
aoind
3 years ago
Reply to  Hanka

Sounds like a perfectly reasonable sentence to me. I’m imagining Michael Phelps, two weeks into retirement, eating cream cakes and drinking beer. “I like not swimming!”

Hanka
Hanka
3 years ago
Reply to  German-is-easy

Thanks for the quick reply. This is what I though the case might be, but I didn’t want to oppose my friends’ arguments without a backup from you, as my own German skills are questionable at best ;)

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin
3 years ago

I got the hint. Will be sure to ask my professor to explain TAMPON using this sentence as an example (without revealing that I am really only trying to lure the professor into revealing some abstruse teacher-version of nicht-placement so that we on G-i-E can roll our eyes).

Considering the ass-backwards way they are trying to teach adjective conjugation (You DON’T want to know!) I can only imagine the nightmare they call “sentence negation. Let’s just say that I suspect there is a prize for most congobulated way to teach something that is really quite straight forward and this prize involves a kazillion €, a date with Emanuel and fleet of pink unicorns.

Ria-Beda (rRchtung-Ackusative/Befindlichkeit-Dativ) is what they want us to learn for an, auf, hinter, in, neben, über, unter, vor, zwischen. Ok… Um, well, if Ria/Beda actually MEANT SOMETHING other than babble, then OK, but it seems like an extra step to me.

To be fair, they have, actually explained relative pronouns in a simple and painless manner.

What makes me laugh is that every time I mention that I learned something a different (easier) way, They scream, “They teach it this way in America, as well!” – As though, that will make me accept their ass-backward method. Because I’m an American in Sweden, they think I have to do everything the American way, even if there is a BETTER and EASIER way?

The mind boggles.

Needless to repeat: Emanuel is a GODSEND! Where would we German Learners be ohne dich!

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin
3 years ago

Did I miss something, or did we never get the answer to the last question, “I don’t STUDY at the library.”? I mean, I think we need to take a bash at it to see if we’ve understood.

Ich studiere in der Bibliotek nicht.

My reasoning is, we are negating “studieren” which would be at the end if the sentence was in its proper form “dass ich in der Bibliotek nicht studiere) but we’ve moved the verb to another position, thus leaving NICHT where it is supposed to be.

If we write, ” Ich studiere nicht in der Bibliotek,” we would be insinuating that we DO study, although NOT in the Bibliotek.

I know you have a lot to do, but if you could reply, it would be very helpful – I need to know if I’m on the right track. Especially now that Part 2 has arrived with THE MOST AMAZING ÜBUNGEN EVER!

Buena
Buena
3 years ago

Thanks for this. I actually was about to read the Work Out part of your “nicht” series abut then I read there were two parts on its theory that I MUST read. So I did. It’s tricky but necessary and I’m amused with all the side jokes. I’d need to read this first part 2 more times and actually write down something so I can practice it. By the way, as for the Word Order at the end of this post, I clicked it but ended up on a NOTHING FOUND page. Is the link broken or I can’t have access to it?

Bibo Sanders
Bibo Sanders
3 years ago

I read once that human language is not necessarily always logical. I used to think i was good at learning languages. Now, I am not sure about that anymore, thanks to the German language! My burning question is: “Does language really have to be so complicated to fulfill its purpose,i.e. to allow humans to communicate?”. I think now I can understand why English became so universal. Forgive my ‘rudeness’, as it doesn’t do justice to your super effort to explain the agonizing ‘nicht’.

Alan Evangelista
Alan Evangelista
3 years ago

Reading my last comment, I noticed the example sentence with “reden” in question #3 works ok if the speaker puts an emphasis in “reden”. Please never mind it. Sorry for the double post; I wanted to edit the prev comment, but it is not possible.