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Watching Futurama, one of the characters said:

"das schaff' ich schon!"

What exactly does this mean, and how does "schon" change the meaning?

(I don't remember, but I think it was Fry, which makes me think it's something that kids say to their parents when they don't want help!)

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Good question! I have no idea how to describe this. There also is no direct translation. Interested to see what people come up with – Pekka 웃 Dec 8 '11 at 12:25
Schon typically translates to already, and though I think this particular idiomatic use that has existed in German for ages didn't used to exist in English, I am actually seeing it quite often recently. Example: "You can do that already." Here, schon/already expresses confidence in the face of reason for pessimism. – Hans Adler Oct 20 at 23:38

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

You've already described the meaning quite accurately - think of a situation where someone's facing a difficult situation or task, and other people doubt whether he or she will handle it. To express his/her (self-)confidence that the result will be positive, one could say

„Das schaffe ich schon!“ / „Das schaffst Du schon!“ / „Das schaffen wir schon!“

"Schon" may convey different meanings. The german "Duden" enumerates the most important ones. In your example, it would be #4 - expressing confidence, often in reply to doubts expressed by someone else.

As translation I would propose:

"I can handle it" / "I can manage it"

I think using "can" is stronger than "will" - as an attempt to catch the meaning of the "schon".

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I'm not a native speaker, so I think of it rather literally, like a white lie: I say "I'm already handling it!" so that you don't doubt me, even though I'm not actually handling it yet. Is that sort of how native speakers think of it? – Andy Oct 12 at 5:31

I can do this for sure!

The "schon" emphasizes the anger of anyone doubting that. It's very colloquial.

Synonyms are

Das packe ich schon!

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The 'schon' in this position is a modal particle, expressing the speakers need to soothe themselves or the person adressed.

Das schaffe ich. = I'll make it. (stating a fact) Das schaffe ich schon. = I'll make it, don't worry. (reassuring)

Lookup wikipedia for mor info on modal particles:

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