What is the difference between the expressions "überhaupt (nicht)" and "gar (nicht)"?

Are they used in different contexts? Is the one stronger than the other? Can they be used together?


2 Answers 2


Both of the expressions convey almost same meaning. However, if you ask which one is stronger than the other one, I would say überhaupt nicht.

There is also überhaupt gar nicht if you want to give more emphasis.

  • 1
    Also emphasizing: »ganz und gar nicht«
    – Pollitzer
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 13:20

As a standard negation both are exchangeable.


Es kommt gar/überhaupt nicht in Frage, dass ich mit dem Zug fahre.
(In no case I will travel by train.)

If there is a numeral asked for, as in:

Wie oft warst du am Kühlschrank?
(How often were you at the fridge?)

I would prefer gar nicht for the denial, but that is more a matter of taste.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.