Ey yo German learners,
what is gucci? Welcome to the most lit German learning blog ever. And because it is Brovember, I have a very special topic for you, bros. Today, we’ll finally get the very very very long awaited part of two of our mini series called
The amazing Positions of “nicht”
or in short T.A.M.P.O.N.
Yup, that’s what jokes are made of in Brovember.
Seriously though, my apologies to all of you that it took me so long to finish part two!!! But it’s an important topic and I wanted to get it right.
In part one we learned two things; kind of the Yin and Yang of German negation:
a very nice, simple, straight-forward rule.
And an absurd sounding, pink assumption we need for the rule to work.
The rule: Nicht ALWAYS precedes what it negates. no exceptions.
The assumption: The side sentence structure is the REAL, normal German sentence structure.
Most of you probably have a hard time believing that these two things are all we need to get a grasp on the position of nicht. And that’s right. But not rules. What we need is an understanding of the core dynamic of a German sentence and we need to trust our … here it comes… intuition. Yup, intuition.
You see, the thing with the position of nicht is the same as with word order. There are several options for pretty much any given sentence. Some sound neutral, some carry special emphasis and some have so much tension that they sound wrong.
That’s what we’ll talk about today.
- Where is the natural spot for nicht (which would be what most sources call “sentence negation”) and what happens if we move it out of there.
I’m not promising you that you’ll get every single nicht right after reading this. But I am pretty sure that you’ll feel like you’ve understood what’s going on and you understand what’s going on when you see a “weird” negation.
If you haven’t read part one yet or you don’t really remember it, then please check that out first.
Otherwise, I’d say, let’s jump right in.