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Es fällt vielen Anfängern wie mir schwer, zu bestimmen, auf welchen Platz sie das nicht setzen sollen. Gibt es irgendwelche Wege, um zu wissen, wie man das macht? Alles, was ich weiß, ist, dass es dem Wenfall folgt:

z.B. Ich habe Skype nicht.

Und dass es vor Präpositionen steht:

z.B. Ich spreche nicht mit dir, sondern mit ihr.

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    "Ich habe Skype nicht" klingt ungewöhnlich, ich möchte sogar sagen, das ist falsch. Eher so: Skype habe ich nicht. (Aber umgangssprachlich wäre Ich habe kein Skype korrekt) Nov 29, 2015 at 21:51
  • Ich habe Skype nicht is grammatikalisch korrect, wenn auch ungewöhnlich. Ich habe kein Skype ist sicherlich besser, nicht nur umgangssprachlich.
    – Walter
    Nov 30, 2015 at 10:20

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I believe the problem isn't so much in the placement of nicht as in the effect that German's V2 (verb second) word order has on it. Normally, nicht precedes whatever it is negating, just like in English.

However, if nicht negates a verb, then it is part of the verb group of the sentence. V2 means that the conjugated verb, and only the conjugated verb, comes in second position and the remainder of the verb group follows at the end:

  1. Ich habe es gesehen. (Infinitive of verb group: gesehen haben. Conjugated verb: habe. Remainder of verb group at end of sentence: gesehen.)
  2. Ich habe es nicht gesehen. (Infinitive of verb group: nicht gesehen haben. Conjugated verb: habe. Remainder of verb group at end of sentence: nicht gesehen.)
  3. Ich habe es. (Infinitive of verb group: haben. Conjugated verb: habe. Remainder of verb group at end of sentence: nothing.)
  4. Ich habe es nicht. (Infinitive of verb group: nicht haben. Conjugated verb: habe. Remainder of verb group at end of sentence: nicht.)

English also was once a V2 language, or at least similar to one. (V2 is an intermediate step between SOV, the original Germanic word order, and 'modern' SVO word order.) You can still see traces in the way English negates auxiliaries and do, and you can see it in the way Early Modern English ('Shakespeare English') did negations without do support. In these cases, not always comes after the conjugated verb it negates, even though in general it comes before its referent, even if that's an infinitive:

  1. I have seen it.
  2. I have not seen it.
  3. I have it.
  4. I have it not.

Even though today we may be inclined to interpret 2 by bracketing "I have (not seen) it", what really happened is that the earlier word order "I have it not seen", which was just like in German, was simplified only part of the way by moving it to the end, but without moving not into its logical position in front of have. 4 is archaic but should still sound somewhat familiar. The modern colloquial and somewhat questionable construction I haven't it as well as the mainstream solutions to the problem of negating have -- I do not have it and I haven't got it - all have the same structure as 2.

To recap the last part, English negates verbs as follows:

  • infinite verb forms, i.e. infinitives, participles and gerunds, are negated by prepending not: to not eat / not to eat, not eaten, not eating;
  • conjugated verb forms are negated by not immediately following the verb
    • but since this is no longer a natural consequence of (V2) word order but rather an apparently arbitrary rule, it has become restricted to auxiliaries and do; arbitrary verbs are now negated by adding do so it can get the negation; overall it feels as if full verbs were negated by putting a 'negative' auxiliary in front.
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