I went through the article The Position of Nicht and the question Where is exactly the position of “nicht” in the sentence?. I would like to know if

  1. I am correct in the following sentences and
  2. if my logic is correct in placing nicht.

Sentence one:

Ich komme aus Deutschland. -> Ich komme nicht aus Deutschland

Explanation: aus Deutschland -> Prepositional phrase, so I'm placing nicht before it.

Sentence two:

Ich kenne den Film. -> Ich kenne den Film nicht.

Explanation: den Film -> noun, so I'm placing nicht at the end.

Sentence three:

Das geht heute. -> Das geht heute nicht.

Explanation: heute -> adverb (modifies gehen) of time that has chronological order. Hence I am placing nicht after it.

Sentence four:

Stefan trinkt gern Kaffee. -> Stefan trinkt nicht gern Kaffee.

Explanation: gern - general adverb (modifies trinken), so I am placing nicht before it.


1 Answer 1


All examples are correct, but there is another solution to your 3rd example:

Das geht heute nicht.

You use this answer if another day is not an option. I give you an example: You have forgotten to buy flowers for an aniversary. You are late, shops are closing, and you did ask for flowers. The salesman says: "Es tut mir leid, das geht heute nicht mehr." He knows, that you have no use for the flowers tomorrow.

Das geht nicht heute.

You are at an office and need an important dokument. You ask when it will be ready, and you say, that you want it today. The officer says: "Es tut mir leid, das geht nicht heute sondern wird zwei Wochen dauern."

  • 10
    Though "Das geht nicht heute" alone does not work - use that only with the concession "sondern ...". Similarly "Ich kenne nicht den Film, aber das Buch" (I don't know the movie, but I do know the book). Commented Oct 27, 2012 at 18:12
  • Nice explanation. Vielen Dank :-)
    – thandasoru
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 5:34

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