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Placement of the word “not” in the sentence

About the concrete examples: A1 is grammatical (Not negated critical). A2 is ungrammatic. B1 is grammatical (Not negated with a win; alternatively you can also expected a win than that of Not understand negated verb group). B2 is also grammatical (Not negates the verb group have calculated).

It is always risky to try to explain the grammar of your mother tongue freehand, but I try anyway. It seems to me that there are only two points to consider when negating Not absolutely must understand in German.

(1) Not always comes before the negated element.

Not me ate the bread today. (Somebody else ate the bread.)

I have not today eaten the bread. (I ate the bread yesterday.)

Today I have not the bread eaten. (I ate the cake today.)

Today I have not that Eaten bread. (I ate this (different) bread today. - This reading requires an emphasis on the.)

I have the bread today not eaten. (I baked the bread today.)

(2) In normal German main clauses with the V2 sentence structure, the conjugated verb comes in second place (after the subject or a part of the sentence that is particularly emphasized by preferring it - e.g. question word) and the rest of the verb group is always at the end of the sentence. You never negate the conjugated verb itself, but always the rest of the verb group. In the extreme, it means that the word Not only forms the part of the verb group that is at the end of the sentence.

In the following examples, the entire verb group including the negative is in italics:

I have today the bread not eaten.

I can today the bread Do not eat.

I eat today the bread Not.

Without the definite article behaves eat bread like a single verb, so that loaf is not an object but part of the verb group:

I have today not eaten bread.

I can today don't eat bread.

I eat today not bread.

(These examples are ambiguous. They can also be read using just the word loaf is negated: not bread is eaten, but e.g. cake.)

Why the negation is so strange that the word Not stands all alone at the end of the sentence, far away from the conjugated verb that it negates - you can understand that if you look at the original sentence structure from which V2 emerged. It still exists today in subordinate clauses.

I say that today I have the bread haven't eaten.

I say that today I have the bread can't eat.

I say that today I have the bread don't eat.

V2 means (in German - in other languages ​​with V2 sentence structure, the details may be slightly different) that the conjugated verb and nothing else from the very last position in the sentence is brought forward to the second position. This brings us back to the examples above:

I have today the bread not eaten.

I can today the bread Do not eat.

I eat today the bread Not.

The negation with Not so is quite logical. There is also the much less logical negation with no. It is not always possible, but when it is possible it is often ambiguous and can represent several of the other negations. It is then often preferred.


Addendum to emphasis: Further nuances can be expressed through stress. If the word Not Receives the strongest emphasis in the sentence, that means, tends: The one before the word Not coming parts of the sentence (the conjugated verb is never included, because it is part of the verb group that only comes at the end) are not denied and are probably true.

Let's look at the examples of the position of Not at:

Not I ate the bread today.

This accent makes little sense and hardly ever occurs. (On the other hand, an equally strong emphasis on Not and Ithat someone else did eat the bread.)

I have Not Ate the bread today.

Here is just the word I not denied. There would be little point in denying my existence.

This emphasis makes it clear that the entire group Ate the bread today is negated. I'm just denying the claim that I ate the bread today. (Maybe I ate it yesterday, or maybe I gave it away today.) That's all I say on the advice of my lawyer.

Today I have Not eaten the bread.

That emphasis doesn't deny that something relevant happened to me today. (Maybe I ate the cake today, or maybe I saw someone else eat the bread.) What didn't happen today is I ate the bread. If I ate the bread yesterday, I could use this sentence to subtly mislead an investigator - to investigate what happened today.

I have the bread today Not eaten.

I am not denying that today (or any other day) something happened to the bread, or that something I did today (or any other day). Maybe I threw the bread away yesterday or today. I only deny the claim that I ate the bread today and otherwise refuse to participate in the clarification.

If instead of Not If something else is emphasized, then it is always the denied element of the sentence. In doing so, stress and sentence structure can seem to contradict each other, but this can serve to express special nuances. Example:

I have todaynot the bread eaten.

I didn't eat the bread, I ate the cake. However, my denial is only for today. On other days I did eat the bread once in a while.