nichts

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See also: Nichts

German[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle High German nihtes niht (nothing of nothing), a reenforcing construction with niht. See nicht.[1] Cognate with Hunsrik nichs.

Alternative forms[edit]

  • nix (a very common colloquial pronunciation; frequently seen in informal writing)
  • nischt (dialectal, widely restricted to eastern Germany)

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /nɪçts/, /nixts/
  • (file)

Pronoun[edit]

nichts n (indefinite pronoun)

  1. nothing
    Ich weiß, dass ich nichts weiß.
    I know that I know nothing.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Used instead of nicht to negate a sentence involving a non-specific noun.
    Gibt es da etwas? Nein, ich sehe nichts.Is there something there? No, I don't see anything.
  • Frequently, especially in spoken or informal language, accompanied by gar.
    Ich sehe gar nichts.I don't see anything at all.

Declension[edit]

Invariable. A following adjective is capitalized and declined as a neuter singular in the strong pattern. Thus nichts Neues (“nothing new”) in the nominative and accusative cases; nichts Neuem in the dative case.

A genitive form does not exist. It is paraphrased by means of the preposition von (of). After the prepositions statt, trotz, während, and wegen, the dative case is used instead: wegen nichts Wichtigem – “because of nothing important” (i.e. because of something unimportant).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Friedrich Kluge (1883) , “nichts”, in John Francis Davis, transl., Etymological Dictionary of the German Language, published 1891

Further reading[edit]

  • nichts” in Duden online
  • nichts” in Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache

Scots[edit]

Noun[edit]

nichts

  1. plural of nicht