CONTENT
  1. Nicht - Usage
  2. Kein - Usage

In German, there are two ways to create negative sentences: you can use either the word nicht or kein.

Let's learn how these two are different and when to use each of them.

Nicht - Usage

Rule 1: We use "nicht" when we negate adjectives, adverbs, or verbs. It can be translated as "not":

Native

Translation

Ich rauche nicht.

I do not smoke.

Nicht - Placement

Rule 2: It can sometimes be difficult to place "nicht" correctly. Generally, it goes at the end of the sentence, but before a preposition, an infinitive, or a verb prefix.

Native

Translation

Ich finde meine Schlüssel nicht.

I can't find my keys.

Ich fahre nicht mit meinem Wagen.

I do not drive with my car.

Er kann heute nicht kommen.

He can't come today.

Ich bringe meinen Freund nicht mit.

I'm not bringing my friend.

Kein - Usage

Rule 3: We use "kein" with nouns. It can be translated as “not a…”, “not… any” or “no.” It also has to agree with the noun it modifies.

Native

Translation

Ich habe kein Geld.

I have no money.

Ich habe keine Geschwister.

I have no siblings.

"Kein" is always placed before a noun.