Nichts or nicht?

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Nichts or nicht?

Nichts (nothing) is the negative form of etwas (something/anything):

-Hast du etwas im Casino gewonnen? -Nein, ich habe nichts gewonnen.

-Have you won anything in the casino? -No, I haven't won anything (literally: “I have won nothing”).

-Möchtest du jetzt etwas essen? -Nein, ich möchte jetzt nichts essen.

-Would you like something to eat now? -No, I wouldn't like anything to eat now (literally: “I would like nothing to eat now”).

-Willst du etwas haben? -Nein, ich will nichts haben.

-Do you want to have something? -No, I don't want to have anything (literally: “I want to have nothing”).

Notice the difference in meaning if we didn't use etwas in the question and if we replied with nicht (not) instead of nichts (nothing):

-Hast du im Casino gewonnen? -Nein, ich habe nicht gewonnen.

-Have you won in the casino? -No, I haven't won.

-Möchtest du jetzt essen? -Nein, ich möchte jetzt nicht essen.

-Would you like to eat now? -No, I wouldn't like to eat now.

-Willst du es haben? -Nein, ich will es nicht haben.

-Do you want to have it? -No, I don't want to have it.

Note: in spoken language, etwas is often shortened to was.

Hast du etwas getrunken? Hast du was getrunken?

Have you drunk anything?

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