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Sometimes when I use the word "nochmal" in a more formal context such as a business e-mail, it is corrected to "noch einmal", e.g.

Ich werde ihn nochmal Anfang Oktober anrufen.

However, the sentence:

Ich werde ihn noch einmal Anfang Oktober anrufen.

sounds to me as if I am just going to call him one more time and that's it, as in the English example of a parent saying to a child "You do that one more time and...".

Is the first sentence correct formal German, and if not, what is a better way to express "again" without implying that it will be the last time?

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

The correct formal version of nochmal is nochmals. The Duden lists "nochmal/noch mal" as colloquial, but it seems to be getting more and more common even in formal contexts, and I think few people would blink at seeing it in a business e-mail these days.

That said, "noch einmal" doesn't actually imply "one last time", so if you want to be formal, you can absolutely use that, too. If you want to say "one last time" you should use "nur noch ein mal" oder "zum letzten Mal".

You can also use wieder, as in

Ich werde ihn Anfang Oktober wieder anrufen.

Other options are erneut and abermals, both of which are very formal and would only sound natural in written communication. Abermals in particular is fairly old-fashioned, though.

By the way, a better sentence order would be

Ich werde ihn Anfang Oktober nochmals anrufen.

because the nochmals should be in front of the verb it refers to.

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Erneut is what you hear in the news all the time, but I wouldn't use the word either. – Hendrik Vogt Sep 26 '11 at 8:21
Yeah, the news usually sound less like "spoken language" and more like "reading a written text out loud" - they use a lot of constructs that wouldn't sound natural in conversation. – Cass Sep 26 '11 at 8:31
I wouldn't even use that word in written language :-) – Hendrik Vogt Sep 26 '11 at 13:21

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