Handout: Negation with Nicht and Kein
Use kein (and its inflected forms keine/keinen): Use nicht: Where does nicht go? Once you’ve decided to use nicht, you need to ask yourself: what am I negating? If you’re negating a particular element of the sentence (an adjective, an object, an adverb, etc), then you should place nicht directly before it: If you’re negating the entire idea of the sentence, or the verb itself, then nicht should go as far toward the end as possible. Because there is quite a bit of flexibility regarding the placement of nicht, we will not be testing it explicity at this point. For a true test of understanding the placement of nicht, compare the following sentences, all of which are correct in certain situations but carry different connotations: See if you can paraphrase these sentences in English in a similar way: Now negate the following sentences, using either nicht or a form of kein.