"Mark J. Reed" <[log in to unmask]> writes:
> On Tue, Oct 19, 2004 at 08:58:19PM +0200, Daniel Asserbo wrote:
> > >Both: 'I have no car', lit.: 'I have not car.'
> I think the Scandinavian examples are actually identical in form is to
> the English pair of phrases  "I have no car" vs. "I don't have a car".

Ok, yes, in English, it works and your translation is much
smoother. :-))

In German, it's impossible to use 'not' here.  The only way is:

   Ich habe kein Auto.  (kein = no)

   *Ich habe nicht ein Auto.

is ungrammatical and

   ??Ich habe ein Auto nicht.

is at least strange if not ungrammatical.

But when you focus on 'Auto' (car), it works again:

      Ein Auto habe ich nicht.
or:   Ein Auto habe ich keines.
(or:  Kein Auto habe ich.)

Here, the last is the least common (which above, with 'normal' focus,
would be the only feasible way to express yourself).  Hmmm....!?

This seems to hold with other constructions/verbs as well:

     Ich fahre kein Auto.
    *Ich fahre nicht ein Auto.
   ??Ich fahre ein Auto nicht.
     Ein Auto fahre ich nicht.

    'I don't drive a car.'

But wait!  Stressing 'ein', it works:

     Ich habe/fahre nicht EIN Auto (, sondern viele) .

     'I don't have/drive ONE car (, but many).'

And interestingly:

     Ich fahre nicht Auto.  (less common than with 'kein' above)
    *Ich fahre Auto nicht.

    'I don't drive a car.'

This seems to be because 'autofahren', despite of the new spelling
'Auto fahren', is just one word like 'aufstehen', and thus behaves the

Negation is very interesting!