Geen/niet

[bijwoorden en bijvoeglijk naamwoorden]
An adjective says something about a noun or person: E.g. "the beautiful story" or "She is happy".
An adverb says something about a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a phrase, or a clause: "You did that well", "That is really nice."
Post Reply
zouzoufromparis
Waardevol lid
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 4:19 pm
Country of residence: France
Mother tongue: French
Gender: Female
Location: France

Geen/niet

Post by zouzoufromparis » Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:35 pm

hello!

i always have a problem with "geen" and "niet"!
i don' t really know when to use it, and above all why one and not the other!? :o
thx guys!

User avatar
Bieneke
Site Administrator
Posts: 1966
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:18 pm
Country of residence: Netherlands
Mother tongue: Dutch (Netherlands)
Second language: English
Gender: Female
Location: Maastricht

Post by Bieneke » Fri Mar 24, 2006 9:02 pm

Hi Zouzou,

You can compare the use of geen and niet with English 'no' and 'not'.

I heb geen honger.
I have no appetite.

Ik heb nog niet gegeten.
I have not eaten yet.

For a more (perhaps too) complicated explanation:

In general, we use niet to negate a phrase. We use geen before objects that are not specific. An object is not specific if it starts with an indefinite article (een or no article at all), a numeral (een, twee, drie) or an indefinite pronoun (e.g. sommige, enkele, een paar):

Ik heb geen idee. [geen - non-specific direct object]
I have no idea.

Ik heb niet het idee dat hij de waarheid vertelt. [niet - specific direct object]
I do not have the impression that he is telling te truth.

Hij heeft niet gelogen [niet - verb]
He has not lied

Ze hebben de katten geen visgegeven. [geen - non-specific direct object]
[literally] They have given no fish to the cats.

De katten kregen niet het eten waar ze op hadden gehoopt [niet - specific direct object]
The cats did not get the food that they had hoped for.

Ze hebben de katten niet gezien. [niet - verb]
They have not seen the cats.

See also: http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/wordorder/25.html.
Bieneke

zouzoufromparis
Waardevol lid
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 4:19 pm
Country of residence: France
Mother tongue: French
Gender: Female
Location: France

Post by zouzoufromparis » Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:32 pm

thx Bieneke!

User avatar
frons
Nieuwkomer
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:55 pm
Country of residence: Italy
Mother tongue: Italian
Second language: English
Third language: French
Gender: Male
Location: Italy
Contact:

Re: Geen/niet

Post by frons » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:42 am

After more than 10 years I'd like to reopen this post because I have a doubt.
I wonder if these two sentences:
  1. Met zo 'n mes kun je brood niet snijden
  2. Met zo 'n mes kun je geen brood snijden
[/color]are first of all grammatically correct and then if the meaning in (1) is focused on the action (snijden) no matter what you can or cannot cut while in (2) is focused on the object (brood) meaning that you cannot cut that particular thing, but you don't know about the others.
Is that correct?

User avatar
BrutallyFrank
Global moderator
Posts: 968
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:47 pm
Country of residence: Netherlands
Mother tongue: Dutch (Netherlands)
Second language: English
Third language: German
Fourth language: French
Gender: Male
Location: Eijsden-Margraten

Re: Geen/niet

Post by BrutallyFrank » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:27 pm

frons wrote:After more than 10 years I'd like to reopen this post because I have a doubt.
I wonder if these two sentences:
  1. Met zo 'n mes kun je brood niet snijden
  2. Met zo 'n mes kun je geen brood snijden
[/color]are first of all grammatically correct and then if the meaning in (1) is focused on the action (snijden) no matter what you can or cannot cut while in (2) is focused on the object (brood) meaning that you cannot cut that particular thing, but you don't know about the others.
Is that correct?
Grammatically both sentences are correct. About the meaning of the sentences: that's a bit more difficult. I have my own ideas on how to interprete them, but I have to admit that there may be other interpretations too.

The way I see it:
The first sentence does indeed focus on the action, but there's also some focus on the knife: it's not suited for the job. If it's because it's dull or a bad knife, isn't clear.

The second sentence is focused on the knife (not the bread). Here the knife is just the wrong kind of knife to slice bread, but not faulty.

Like I said: it's my interpretation!
"Moenie worrie nie, alles sal reg kom" (maar hy het nie gesê wanneer nie!)

Image

Post Reply