“I have no …” – Negations with “kein/keine/keinen/etc.”

Posted on 18. Oct, 2010 by in Grammar, Language

When someone is asking you in German for a particular noun, for example, when you are asked if you have or posses something, e.g. time, a brother, a sister, children, a pen, etc., you have to use a declined form of the word kein in order to negate your statement.

For example, when I ask you the following questions:

1. Hast du Zeit? – Do you have time?

2. Hast du Hunger. – Are you hungry? (lit. Do you have hunger?)

3. Hast du eine Schwester? – Do you have a sister?

4. Haben sie einen Sohn? – Do you have a son?

5. Haben Sie Kinder? – Do you have children?

6. Hast du einen Stift? – Do you have a pen?

The correct German responses would be:

1. Nein, ich habe keine Zeit. – No, I have no time. / No, I don’t have time.

2. Nein, ich habe keinen Hunger. – No, I am not hungry. (lit. No, I have no hunger.)

3. Nein, Ich habe keine Schwester. – No, I have no sister. / No, I don’t have a sister.

4. Nein, ich habe keinen Sohn. – No, I have no son. / No, I don’t have a son.

5. Nein, ich habe keine Kinder. – No, I have no children. / No, I don’t have children.

6. Nein, ich habe keinen Stift. – No, I have no pen. / No, I don’t have a pen.

In the singular kein is declined like the indefinite articles.

In the plural kein is declined like the definite articles.

Singular

Plural

masculine

feminine

neuter

Nominative

ein

kein

eine

keine

ein

kein

die

keine

Genitive

eines

keines

einer

keiner

eines

keines

der

keiner

Dative

einem

keinem

einer

keiner

einem

keinem

den

keinen

Accusative

einen

keinen

eine

keine

ein

kein

die

keine

So, all you have to do is to add the letter k to the indefinite articles and you will always obtain the corresponding negation word.

Please note, that you can only negate you statement with kein when the noun you are talking about is either used without articles or with indefinite articles.

Without articles:

Sie isst Äpfel. – She eats apples.

Sie isst keine Äpfel. – She doesn’t eat apples. (lit. She eats no apples.)

Er trinkt Kaffee. – He drinks coffee.

Er trink keinen Kaffee. – He doesn’t drink coffee. (lit. He drinks no coffee.)

With indefinite articles:

Sie isst einen Apfel. – She is eating an apple.

Sie isst keinen Apfel. – She isn’t eating an apple. (lit. She is eating no apple.)

Er trinkt eine Tasse Kaffee. – He is drinking a cup of coffee.

Er trink keine Tasse Kaffee. – He isn’t drinking a cup of coffee. (lit. He is drinking no cup of coffee.)

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About Sandra

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra

3 Responses to ““I have no …” – Negations with “kein/keine/keinen/etc.””

  1. As'ad halim 19 October 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    Es braucht so. . .

  2. George 27 October 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    I can’t praise ‘transparent language ‘ enough .. You have helped me enormously with my German studies. The only negative is why you call some verbs an ‘expression’ .

  3. Jupitar 3 November 2010 at 12:05 am #

    German is a godsend in it use of ‘kein’ and its various forms. It translates from English as ‘no’, ‘not a’, and ‘not any’. Don’t be scared by the endings, once you learn them, you will see that this word covers many English uses, so that the (English speaking) learner of German sees that they dont have to bother much thinking about the subtilties between the English uses, because in German these subtilties simply don’t exist.


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