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Dutch 'Niet,' 'Geen' and 'Wel'

'Niet' click to hear 2 is an adverb indicating a negative for a verb or an adjective: usually 'not' or often 'do not' in English.
'Geen' click to hear is an adjective meaning 'zero quantity, it isn't there' - 'no' or 'not any' in English. (The negative answer 'No' is Nee click to hear in Dutch.)
'Wel' click to hear is the emphasized opposite of 'not'/'niet,' - stressing that something did occur or is happening, or that an adjective is valid. English has no straight equivalent of 'wel' but can express that meaning with 'to do.'
'Niet'
'Geen'
'Wel'
't Regent niet click to hear It's not raining
Ik heb 't niet gedaan click to hear I have not done it, I did not do it
Ik ben niet ziek click to hear 2 3 I am not sick
Er zijn geen bergen in Nederland click to hear There are no mountains in Holland
Ik heb geen hoofdpijn click to hear I do not have a headache
Heeft U bananen? - Nee click to hear Do you have bananas? - No
Er zijn wel sinaasappels click to hear (But) [there are] we do have oranges
Ik heb het wel gedaan click to hear I did do it

Niet - Not, Do Not

Ik heb die film niet gezien click to hear I haven't seen that movie
Ik zal 't niet vergeten click to hear 2 3 I won't forget it
't Zal niet gemakkelijk zijn click to hear 2 It won't be easy
't Is niet eerlijk click to hear 2 It's not fair
't Is niet fout click to hear 2 3 It's not wrong
't Geeft niet click to hear 2 3 It doesn't matter, it's alright, never mind
Niet wanhopen! click to hear 2 3 Do not despair
Probeer niet te hoesten click to hear 2 Try not to cough
Dit stopcontact is niet geaard click to hear 2 This power outlet is not grounded
Dat was niet nodig click to hear 2 That was not necessary, you didn't have to do that
Niet storen click to hear 2 Do not disturb
Verroer je niet! click to hear Don't move! Freeze!
Vergeet je telefoonnummer niet click to hear Don't forget (to write down) your telephone number
Geld maakt niet gelukkig click to hear 2 Money doesn't make (you) happy, money doesn't bring happiness
Ik begrijp niet wat je bedoelt click to hear 2 I don't understand what you mean
Omdat ik het niet begreep click to hear 2 3 Because I didn't understand (the idea)
Omdat ik het niet verstond click to hear 2 Because I didn't understand (what was said)
Ik weet 't niet click to hear 2 I don't know
Ik weet niet wat ik moet doen click to hear 2 I don't know what [I should do] to do
Dat had ik niet moeten zeggen click to hear 2 I should not have said that
Je proeft 't niet click to hear 2 3 You don't taste (notice the taste) it -or- you won't taste it
Nu ik niet meer rij(d) ... click to hear 2 Now that I do not drive anymore ...
't Is niet zo overtuigend click to hear 2 It's not very convincing
Ik hoorde 't signaal niet click to hear 2 I didn't hear the signal
Ik moet er niet aan denken click to hear 2 I don't want to think about it, I'd rather not think about it
Ik kan het niet verklaren click to hear 2 I can't explain (it) - I don't understand how it works
Hij hoefde zich niet te bewijzen click to hear He didn't have to prove himself
Ik hou(d) niet van sport click to hear 2 I don't like sports
Hou(d) jij van opera? Ik niet click to hear Do you like opera? I don't
Prijzen gaan niet vaak omlaag click to hear Prices do not often go down
't Zal niet meer gebeuren click to hear 2 3 4 It will not happen again
Ik wil niet naar Arnhem click to hear 2 I don't want (to go) to Arnhem
Niet zo goed click to hear Not that good (possible answer to 'How are you?')
Niet veel mensen spreken Latijn click to hear [Not many] Few people speak Latin
Hij eet niet veel click to hear He doesn't eat much
Doe niet zo stoer! click to hear [Don't act that bravely] - Don't pretend to be brave
't Is niet de moeite waard click to hear 2 It's not worth [the trouble] it (don't bother)
Is er niet meer geld? click to hear 2 3 Is there not more money? Is this all the money there is?
Heb je niet meer voorbeelden? click to hear 2 Don't you have more examples?
liever niet click to hear 2 rather not, I'd prefer not to
nog niet click to hear 2 3 not yet
niet leuk click to hear 2 3 not funny, not entertaining, unpleasant, bummer!
niet-beklemtoonde E click to hear unstressed E ('schwa')
See also: niets click to hear and niks click to hear - 'nothing'

Geen - No, Not A, Not Any - Zero Quantity

Er is geen bewijs click to hear 2 3 There is no proof
Er is geen reden waarom hij niet zou kunnen winnen click to hear [There is no] I don't see any reason why he couldn't win
Er komt geen eind aan click to hear 2 There is no end to it (it goes on and on)
Er zijn geen tomaten click to hear 2 There are no tomatoes
Er is geen plaats voor click to hear 2 3 There is no room for it
Geen rozen zonder doornen click to hear No roses without thorns (nice things come with problems)
Er waren in die tijd geen violen click to hear 2 There were no violins at the time
Er is geen reden tot paniek click to hear 2 3 There is no reason for (to?) panic
Ik heb geen honger click to hear 2 3 4 [I have no hunger] I'm not hungry
Ik heb hem in geen jaren gezien click to hear 2 [I have seen him in no years] I haven't seen him for years
Geen geld, geen Zwitsers click to hear 2 (saying) ['no money, no Swiss (mercenaries)'] - lack of money means no Swiss soldiers - some things won't happen without money

Keep in mind that adjectives for singular 'het'-words do not get an -E ending after 'geen' - >>

het lelijke eendje click to hear the ugly duckling
een lelijk eendje click to hear an ugly duckling
geen lelijk eendje click to hear 2 [no] not an ugly duckling
Geen groter genoegen click to hear (There is) No greater pleasure
Er is geen enkel bewijs click to hear 2 There is not any proof, not a shred of evidence
't Heeft toch geen enkele zin click to hear 2 3 It [has] is no use (at all) anyway

Like in English, you can occasionally use either 'niet een' ('not a') or 'geen' ('no)

Is er geen betere oplossing? click to hear 2 3 Is there no better solution?
Is er niet een betere oplossing? click to hear 2 3 Is there not a better solution?
Is er niet een andere oplossing? click to hear Is there not another solution?

But 'niet een' is a bit unusual in Dutch, and translating 'not a' as 'niet een' often doesn't sound good. It is generally safer to translate 'not a' as 'geen.' Looking at my collection of examples I think Dutch only uses 'niet een' for adjectives or nouns with adjectives, but 'geen' is just as good there.

Ik heb vandaag geen hoofdpijn click to hear 2 3 4 I don't have a headache today
Hij heeft geen auto click to hear He doesn't have (own) a car
Ik hoor geen verschil click to hear I don't hear a (the?) difference
Geen zuchtje wind click to hear 2 Not a [sigh] breath of wind
't Is geen zuivere koffie click to hear 2 3 4 [It's not pure coffee] - There's something fishy about it
Maar dan is 't geen verrassing meer click to hear 2 But then it's not a surprise anymore
Er was geen tijd click to hear 2 There was no time (for it)
Rijk maar geen geld click to hear 2 3 Rich, but no money
Er is inderdaad geen goede vertaling click to hear 2 [There is indeed ...] You're right, there is no good translation
Ik heb er geen woorden voor click to hear 2 3 I have no words [for it]
Er was opeens geen geld meer click to hear 2 3 Suddenly, there was no money anymore
Er is geen goede reden voor click to hear 2 3 There is no good reason for it
't Heeft toch geen zin click to hear It [has] is no use anyway
Ik ben geen vegetariër click to hear 2 I'm not a vegetarian
Ik ben niet een strikte vegetariër click to hear 2 3 I'm not a strict vegetarian (but 'geen' is alright too)
Ik ben nu geen held meer. Je weet niet hoe
je de mensen nog eens nodig kunt hebben. click to hear 2
I am not a hero anymore. You never know how
you'll need people someday.
(Nescio ->>)

In English, 'not' is usually a negative for a verb, but occasionally it means 'zero quantity' like 'no,' and then it's also 'geen' in Dutch. Think of substandard English: "I had no breakfast, I have no time."

Ik wil geen brood click to hear 2 3 I don't want bread
Ik wil geen feest click to hear 2 3 I don't want a party
Ik hoef geen bonnetje click to hear 2 I don't need a (cash register) receipt
Ik heb geen ontbijt gehad click to hear 2 I didn't have breakfast
Ik wil geen vlees eten click to hear 2 I don't want to eat meat
Ik heb er geen tijd voor click to hear 2 3 I don't have time for it
Hij lust geen spruitjes click to hear 2 He doesn't like Brussels sprouts
We mochten geen foto's maken click to hear 2 We were not allowed to [make] take pictures
Doe geen domme dingen! click to hear 2 3 [Don't do stupid things!] - Don't do anything stupid!
Doe geen moeite click to hear [Don't make an effort] - Don't bother, it's OK
Dat kan geen kwaad click to hear 2 3 ['That does not do evil'] - That can't hurt (something worth trying)
Ik heb geen moment voor mezelf click to hear 2 3 I don't have a moment to myself
Er zijn speciale molentjes voor maar ik heb er geen click to hear 2 There are specialized 'little mills' for it but I don't have one (talking about kitchen gadgets like a Romano beans slicer)
Ik spreek niet goed Nederlands click to hear 2 [I speak not-good Dutch] - I don't speak Dutch well
Ik spreek geen goed Nederlands click to hear [I speak no good Dutch] - I don't speak Dutch well
Ik spreek geen Nederlands ... click to hear 2 I don't speak Dutch ...

Wel - Amplifier or 'Pragmatic Marker'

Dutch 'wel' click to hear is often used to emphasize a positive or a denial when there seems to be some doubt or a negative is expected. English usually gives this meaning with 'to do.' 'Wel' can also be an untranslated pragmatic marker
... maar ik kan het wel verstaan click to hear 2 3 ... but I do understand it
Ik heb 't gedaan click to hear 2 I have done it, I did it
Ik heb 't niet gedaan click to hear I did not do it
Ik heb 't wel gedaan click to hear I did do it
't Regent click to hear 2 3 4
't Regent niet click to hear
't Regent wel click to hear 2
It's raining
It's not raining
But it is raining, It does rain
Je kunt 't wel click to hear 2 3 You can do it (I have confidence in you)
Kan dat wel? click to hear 2 3 4 Can that be? (How is it possible?)
Het is wel waar click to hear But is is true
't Gaat wel om 't geld click to hear 2 It is really about the money
Hebben jullie wel plezier? click to hear Are you guys really enjoying yourself?
Jullie kunnen wel Nederlands praten click to hear 2 3 You guys can speak Dutch, it's alright
Ik wist 't wel click to hear 2 I knew it!
't Lijkt wel zomer click to hear It looks (feels) like Summer (but it isn't Summer)
Ik ben wel oud, maar toch niet zò oud click to hear 2 I may be old, but I'm not that old
Dat is wel zo ... click to hear 2 You're right, it is like that ... (but: )
Ik doe 't wel click to hear 2 3 4 I'll do it, I'll take care of it
We zullen wel zien click to hear 2 We'll see
Er is altijd wel iets click to hear There's always something (wrong)
Zou je dat nou wel doen? click to hear 2 3 Is it a good idea to do that?
Morgen zal 't wel beter zijn click to hear 2 3 Tomorrow it will be better, things will look up tomorrow

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Don't be a dief (thief) / dievegge (female thief) - diefstal (theft) - stelen (to steal) - heler (dealer in stolen goods) - hear Dutch - 2