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Modal verbs & Negative Sentences


Negative Sentences

Nicht and kein are forms of negation, but nicht means not and kein means no, not a, or not any. Kein is used to negate nouns that either have no articles or are preceded by the indefinite article. Kein precedes the nouns in sentences. It is declined as an ein-word.

Ist das eine Kusine? Is that a cousin?
Nein, das ist keine Kusine. No, that's not a cousin.

Nicht negates nouns preceded by a definite article or a possessive adjective; or it could negate any part (verb, noun, adjective) or all of a sentence. Nicht always follows the verb, but usually precedes the part of the sentence to be negated. It you want to negate an entire sentence, nicht comes last. Nicht also follows expressions of time.

Das ist meine Frau.

That's my wife.
Das ist nicht meine Frau.

That's not my wife.
Heute ist es kalt.

It is cold today.
Heute ist es nicht kalt.

It is not cold today.



To and From Countries and Cities

To nach
From aus
In in

Note: In also means to when it is used before a country that has a definite article (feminine and plural countries.)

Ich fliege in die Schweiz - I'm flying to Switzerland.

Ich fliege nach Deutschland - I'm flying to Germany.

And when aus is used with feminine or plural countries, the definite article must also be used.

Ich bin aus der Schweiz - I am from Switzerland.

Ich bin aus Deutschland - I am from Germany.


To Come and to Go

kommen - to come



gehen - to go
komme koh-muh kommen koh-men



gehe geh-uh gehen geh-in
kommst kohmst kommt kohmt



gehst gehst geht gate
kommt kohmt kommen koh-men



geht gate gehen geh-in


Modal Verbs

German has 6 of them. They express an attitude about an action or condition described by the main verb. The modal auxiliary is conjugated and placed where the verb should be. The main verb is in the infinitive form and at the end of the sentence.

Ich kann eine Fahrkarte kaufen. ( I can buy a ticket) Kann is the conjugated auxiliary verb and kaufen is the main verb in infinitive form.

können - to be able to

müssen - to have to

dürfen - to be allowed to
kann können

muß müssen

darf dürfen
kannst könnt

mußt müsst

darfst dürft
kann können

muß müssen

darf dürfen

Note: Nicht müssen translates to do not have to or do not need to. Nicht dürfen translates to must not. Du mußt es nicht machen is you don't have to do it. Du darfst es nicht machen is you must not (or are not allowed) to do it.

sollen - to ought to
wollen - to want
mögen - to like
soll sollen
will wollen
mag mögen
sollst sollt
willst wollt
magst mögt
soll sollen
will wollen
mag mögen

Subjunctive of mögen
möchte möchten
möchtest möchtet
möchte möchten

Note: This subjunctive of mögen expresses would like to and is used more often than the indicative of mögen. Ich möchte eine Fahrkarte kaufen means I would like to buy a ticket.


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