Let’s practice “doch”

Written By: Emanuel Updated: February 17, 2021

Hello everyone,

and welcome back to a new week of learning German. Hooray.
And this week, I have something really special for you. Something that I wanted to share for a long time…
drum roll please..

an exercise about “doch”

One of the main things I am working on this year is adding these little quizzes to the articles. Like… to all of them.
At the moment, I have around 130 quizzes up, so it’s still a long way and it does take quite a bit of time because I often also review the old articles and give them a little do-over. Or a big do-over. Some really needed a good review and trimming :).
But yeah, I’m slowly and steadily adding more and I actually found a really talented freelancer who helps me come up with ideas.

And she is also the one who came up with this really amazing concept for the exercise about doch.
The article on doch is one of my favorite articles ever, and I’ve wanted to have an exercise for doch for a long time but I could never think of a way that makes sense.
So when I saw her basic idea, I was REALLY excited and that’s why I wanted to share this one with all of you and get your thoughts on it.
So are you ready?

Here’s how it works:

We give you a sentence without doch, and then the same sentence but with doch and your task is to pick (multiple choice) what doch does in that scenario.
Let’s maybe just do an example together.
Here’s what you get:

 “Maria will ein Steak?!”
“Was? Sie ist Vegetarierin.”
“Maria wants a steak.”
“What? She is a vegetarian.”

 “Maria will ein Steak?!”
“Was? Sie ist doch Vegetarierin.”

You’ll also get the audio for the doch-version, because the pronunciation can help with the meaning. And sometimes the way how it’s said and where the stress is, makes a difference for the meaning.
And also, you can click “hint” and then you’ll get a translation for the doch-version. In case of our example, that would be

“Maria wants a steak.”
“What? She is a vegetarian, isn’t she?”

And then you just have to pick from the following options, which are the core functions of doch.

  1. reverts a negation
  2. revises and reverts something about reality that we previously thought true (!! this “doch” gets a stress in spoken !!)
  3. personalizes and pads a command
  4. seeks affirmation from the other person
  5. expresses “but” and “yet”

The idea is that by having a direct comparison, you get a better feeling for doch in different contexts. And also, the options you can choose from are always the same, so just by doing the exercise you actually kind of learn the core functions of doch.
And you can actually skip around in the exercise and compare different questions, because sometimes, the sentence is actually the same… just the context is different.
So yeah… I think it’s a pretty cool exercise to get a feeling for doch

Now, if you don’t really know what the five different options stand for, then you should read the article first. Here’s the link:

The meaning of doch explained

I haven’t reviewed that one, but overall, it’s pretty good. The only thing that I kind of feel like I’m gonna change is the part about commands.
Lots of sources say that doch can soften and strengthen commands. And in the article I said that it tones them down, but actually, it mainly makes them sound more personal, and it can go in either direction. So it can express impatience, but also sound inviting. That depends on the context mainly and the way you say it. But it doesn’t purely tone them down.
Sorry that I haven’t reviewed the doch-article before posting this, but overall, I’m pretty satisfied with it.

All right.
So now you know what to do, and I think you’re ready to jump right into the exercise.
And when you’re done, please please let me know how you liked it.
Was it hard? Was it easy? Do you think this kind of exercise is helpful? Like… should we do it for words like eben and gerade and halt as well? And of course, do you have any questions about this exercise and doch?
Can’t wait to read all your thoughts and feedback, so yeah Viel Spaß with the exercise and I’ll see you in the comments.

4.6 51 votes
Article Rating

German in your inbox

Sign up to my epic newsletter and get notified whenever I post something new :)
(roughly once per week)

No Spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.