Tag Archives: where to put nicht

The position of “nicht” – Part 2

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.

The amazing position of “nicht” – Part One

Otherwise, I’d say, let’s jump right in.

The Position of “nicht” – Part 1

nicht-position-germanHello everyone,

it’s been a while since we’ve had a real grammar episode but the wait is over. 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”
The question where to put nicht in a sentence is one that confuses many learners. And it is one that textbooks have the perfect, spot-on answer to…
nooooot! Stupid textbooks.
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 just as well as this picture does.
Haha. Get it? Underlying mechanics? 
Seriously though, our approach is gonna be AWESOME because all we need is one rule and get this – the rule has no exceptions. WOW!!
Oh, beside that rule we also need very open mind. And a coffee because it’ll be intense.
In part one we’ll get to know the basic rule and we’ll lay a fair bit of groundwork.  And before you go like “Dude, I’m a working man, mother of 4 and full time student… I ain’t got time for groundwork.” let me tell you… you will want to read this. You need this groundwork like Burger King needs ground beef.
So, are you ready to dive in? Perfect!