As far as I can see, "noch nie" means "never", but "nie" also means "never".

So when to use each form? Eg

Ich habe diesen Film nie gesehen


Ich habe diesen Film noch nie gesehen



It's getting clear if you translate noch nie with not until now.

Your first sentence just states seen=yes or seen=no. You could use it in a neutral, informational situation or to express your disinterest.

The second sentence implies there's still an opportunity or will to try it. You could for instance use noch nicht when you're at the cinema and you discuss which movie to watch next.

  • I thought for the "not yet" case it would be like "ich habe diesen Film noch nicht gesehen". Is this valid as well? – persson Oct 14 '13 at 15:05
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    @karoshi: nicht or nie - it doesn't matter, the number is always 0. You can say both ones, though nie puts more weight on that 0 than nicht. – äüö Oct 14 '13 at 15:20
  • @karoshi I would even say that "Ich habe den Film noch nicht gesehen." is much more common than "Ich habe den Film noch nie gesehen.". I think one uses "noch nie" more often, if it's not likey to change or you don't believe that it will: "Das war nocht nie anders gewesen, das war schon immer so.". – insertusernamehere Oct 14 '13 at 18:58

Nie translates to a generic never, noch nie means never before, not yet.

Ich habe diesen Film nie gesehen.

"I have never seen this movie."

Ich habe diesen Film noch nie gesehen

"I haven't seen this movie ever before."

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