Es gibt nichts, das ich mir nicht leisten könnte!

= There's nothing I can't afford!

I just noticed this original German sentence with a double negative construction is for some reason translated (by a professional Russian translator, no less) into something as straightforward as:

Я все могу купить!

Which makes me wonder if the use of double negation somehow doesn't sound idiomatic in Russian in an instance like this?

  • 2
    “Нет ничего невозможного” sounds natural and idiomatic, for example. Jun 26, 2018 at 17:04
  • 2
    "Нет ничего, чего/что я бы себе не мог позволить", sounds acceptable, but to be fair, somewhat clumsy, and there's a little problem of tautology in ничего - чего if we opt-in for this variant Jun 26, 2018 at 18:30
  • in English a more precise rendering would be "... i couldn't/wouldn't be able to afford" Jun 26, 2018 at 18:36
  • @БаянКупи-ка Actually, "There is nothing I can't do" without the conditional is how you say it in English, not "There is nothing I couldn't do". Jun 27, 2018 at 10:19
  • @Alone-zee, OK you may be are right, there's a handful of examples in Google, so these are perhaps mistakes, in Russian the subjunctive mood isn't absolutely necessary, but it sounds better Jun 27, 2018 at 11:30

2 Answers 2


There's the "нет ничего, чего (я/он/...) не мог бы (сделать/...)" construction, which may, or in some cases (i.e. with some verbs) may not sound natural.

In your case the translation by that template would be "нет ничего, чего я купить бы не смог (or: чего я не смог бы купить)". To my taste, such construction in general sounds just a little bit dramatic, maybe, not just neutrally narrative, but it sounds all right.

UPDATE: There's also the variant "нет ничего, что (я/он/...) не мог бы (сделать/...)", but I don't remember whether it's considered 100% literary.


You could translate this as:

Нет того, что я не мог бы себе позволить!

Keeping closer to the original German wording,

И несть того, в чём я б себе бы не позволил! (Начальное "И" добавлено для поддержки темпа в рифмованном слоге; "несть" - для придания архаичности)

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