Kein vs. Keine

What's the Difference?

Kein and Keine are both German words that mean "no" or "not any." However, they differ in terms of gender and number. Kein is used with masculine and neuter nouns in the singular form, while Keine is used with feminine nouns in the singular form. For example, "kein Mann" means "no man," while "keine Frau" means "no woman." This distinction is important in German grammar as it reflects the gender and number agreement between the article and the noun.


Pluralno pluralplural form
Definite Articlekeinkeine
Indefinite Articlekeinkeine
Nominative Casekeinkeine
Accusative Casekeinenkeine
Dative Casekeinemkeinen
Genitive Casekeineskeiner

Further Detail


When it comes to the German language, understanding the differences between words can be crucial for effective communication. Two words that often cause confusion are "Kein" and "Keine." While both words translate to "no" or "not a" in English, they have distinct attributes that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the nuances of Kein and Keine, examining their usage, gender agreement, and grammatical contexts.


Kein and Keine are both used to negate or express the absence of something. However, their usage depends on the gender and number of the noun they modify. Kein is used with masculine and neuter nouns, while Keine is used with feminine and plural nouns. This distinction is essential for maintaining grammatical accuracy in German sentences.

Gender Agreement

One of the primary differences between Kein and Keine lies in their gender agreement. Kein is used with masculine and neuter nouns, which means it agrees with the grammatical gender of the noun it modifies. For example:

  • Kein Mann (No man)
  • Kein Haus (No house)
  • Kein Buch (No book)

On the other hand, Keine is used with feminine and plural nouns, again agreeing with the gender of the noun. Consider the following examples:

  • Keine Frau (No woman)
  • Keine Blume (No flower)
  • Keine Bücher (No books)

Grammatical Contexts

While both Kein and Keine are used to express negation, they are employed in different grammatical contexts. Kein is often used with singular nouns to indicate the absence of a specific object or entity. For instance:

  • Ich habe kein Auto. (I have no car.)
  • Er hat kein Geld. (He has no money.)
  • Sie hat keine Zeit. (She has no time.)

On the other hand, Keine is frequently used with plural nouns to express the absence of multiple objects or entities. Consider the following examples:

  • Wir haben keine Hunde. (We have no dogs.)
  • Es gibt keine Äpfel. (There are no apples.)
  • Sie haben keine Freunde. (They have no friends.)

Additional Considerations

While Kein and Keine are primarily used for negation, they can also be used to express the meaning of "not a" or "not any." This usage is particularly common when discussing professions or nationalities. For example:

  • Er ist kein Arzt. (He is not a doctor.)
  • Sie ist keine Deutsche. (She is not a German.)
  • Ich habe keine Ahnung. (I have no idea.)

It is important to note that Kein and Keine can also be combined with other words to form more complex negations. For instance, "nicht" (not) can be added to emphasize the negation:

  • Das ist kein Buch, sondern ein Magazin. (That is not a book, but a magazine.)
  • Ich habe keine Zeit, nicht einmal eine Minute. (I have no time, not even a minute.)


In conclusion, understanding the differences between Kein and Keine is crucial for accurate and effective communication in German. While both words express negation, Kein is used with masculine and neuter nouns, while Keine is used with feminine and plural nouns. Additionally, Kein is often used with singular nouns, while Keine is frequently employed with plural nouns. By grasping these distinctions and considering the grammatical context, learners of German can confidently navigate the usage of Kein and Keine, enhancing their language skills and avoiding common mistakes.

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