25 phrases with “doch”

25 phrases with "doch"

Anything you can do I can do better
I can do anything better than you
No, you can’t
Yes, I can
No, you can’t
Yes, I can
No, you can’t
Yes, I can! Yes, I can!

Do you remember this song from ‘Annie get your gun’?  Do you know how the song goes in German? Is it the same, with ja & nein?
Have a listen (Sorry, the original video has gone from YouTube, so I had to find another one)

Did you hear it? There was no “ja” it was  “Kann ich doch, doch ich kann!”

Unlike English which just has yes & no, German has ja, nein & doch.
And this, dear reader, is where the simplicity stops.

Doch is very tricky to translate. Type it into a dictionary and you’ll read it can be however, still, yet, but, yes, after all, you know and more. Type ‘doch’ into Google’s search bar and you’ll find super long blog posts explaining it.

There are also lots and lots of colloquial phrases with ‘doch’ that Germans often use. 25 of those you can see in this infographic.

Your challenge is to try and use some of those every week – oh, and to tell me which one is your favourite!

Of course, there is one more, the one from the song. So, if anybody tells you that you can’t speak German, just tell them:

“Kann ich doch!”

Do you need help reaching your goal of German fluency? I can help you. Message me

14 thoughts on “25 phrases with “doch””

  1. I can still remember Germans trying to explain the usage of ‘doch’ and ‘schon’ to me. …most of them didn’t know themselves, it is very much a ‘feeling’ thing. Sometimes that sentence just *needs* a ‘doch’ or a ‘schon’ or both…and in Hessia preferably with a ‘gell’ tacked on the end for good measure.

    “doch schon, gell?”

  2. Another little word with a heap of intoned meanings is the word ‘oder’. Back when my eldest returned to live in the UK at age 13 or so, he acquired the nickname of ‘Uda’ because even when speaking ‘English’ to his English peers he had a habit of making a question by putting ‘oder?’ at the end of the sentence. Most people still know him, at age 27, as ‘Uda’ to this day…even his own brothers.

  3. A bit ‘Off Topic’ but I thought it might interest any readers who are trying to learn German…and who assume the rule about compound nouns ALWAYS taking the gender of the ‘end word’ is inviolate.

    It isn’t…well not quite anyways.

    I was out walking with The Best Frau In The World this lunchtime, talking in German together as we have done for the last 27 years. I said something about ‘die Verkehr’ and she kindly corrected me, telling me it is ‘DER Verkehr’. I thought she was trying to fool me! I mean, it *IS* die Abkehr, die Umkehr, die Heimkehr, die Rückkehr, die Vorkehr, and die bloody Einkehr !

    Having now Dudened (a ‘denglischism’) I now know that (and I quote from some forum post somewhere): “It seems that Verkehr is the only modern word where der Kehr has survived. All of these compounds are early Late Modern High German neologisms. All of them except Verkehr are apparently derivations influenced by die Kehre and not der Kehr which was already practically extinct at the time.”

    Anschi, it might make a good blog post sometime, all the ‘exceptions’ (that often aren’t) to the rules of German grammar?

  4. Why so complicated?

    It means “on the contrary!”

    Say it twice if you want to emphasize it – “doch doch!” I go back to every phrase with “doch” in this thread, and “on the contrary” works!

    Try explaining the idiom (all of the meanings) of “gemütlichkeit” – that’s a little more challenging.

    • ‘On the contrary’ doesn’t fit with all of the phrases above.
      If I say to somebody ‘Mach’s doch’ I am not saying ‘on the contrary’, I am encouraging them to do something (or depending on my tone of voice, egging them on to do something).
      If somebody asks me whether I will sell lots of books this year and I reply ‘ich hoffe doch’ then I’m definitely not saying ‘on the contrary’.
      If you think of ‘doch’ as ‘on the contrary’ you may be right or might think in the right direction, but it could also be wrong. And that’s why ‘doch’ is so complicated.

  5. Doch is the positive response to a negative statement. z.b Du gehst nicht ins Kino. Doch gehe ich. Also used for emphasis. As in Mach’s doch.

  6. I recall, when studying Deutsch in college, that “doch” is a “flavoring particle,” which are now called “modal particles.” Another was “aber.” Zum beispiel: My father would taste something and say, “Das schmeckt aber gut!” Here, “aber” was added for emphasis. But apparently, flavoring particles can nuance sentence meaning in many ways. Interesting language component.


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