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Today I saw the sentence:

I cannot go to bed before I help everyone.

Being translated into German will that sentence contain nicht in the part with bevor?

Ich kann nicht ins Bett gehen, bevor ich allen nicht helfe.

That is whether the conditional clause requires a negation of helfen.

To make it more clear:

The conditional part can either describe the required future state (until something positive happens) or the present state (while something continues to exist).

In Russian language we use the second variant: I do not go to bed, while I am in the state when people without help exist.

In a word by word translation this would give the following:

I do not go to bed, before I do not help everyone.

Meaning that now I am not helping everyone. And while this holds true I do not go to bed.

Whereas in English it is simply said:

I do not go to bed before I help everyone.

Is German similar to English or Russian in this respect?

2

The German word bevor works similar to your Russian example. The correct sentence structure would be:

Ich kann nicht ins Bett gehen, bevor ich nicht allen helfe.

Note the placement of nicht which is different from your suggestion. If you placed it right before helfe it would shift the sentence’s meaning to:

Ich kann nicht ins Bett gehen, bevor ich allen nicht helfe.
I cannot go to bed before I am unhelpful to everybody.

As in I actively have to not help everybody, before I can go to bed.

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  • So omitting nicht before alle makes the sentence incorrect, doesn't it? Or is it ok to say: Ich kann nicht ins Bett gehen, bevor ich allen helfe. – Pavel Voronin Oct 30 '15 at 22:20
  • @voroninp I’m actually not sure about that atm. I have no more doubts that the sentence works with a correctly placed nicht but I’ll have to double-check about the missing nicht. – Jan Oct 30 '15 at 22:21

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