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I would appreciate any clarification on the correct usage of sogar and einmal as translations of the English word "even" when used in the following sense:

He didn't drink anything...not even the beer!

I believe this is properly translated as Er hat nichts getrunken...nicht einmal das Bier!

Is that correct? If not, should I use sogar instead? If so, when would one properly use sogar instead of einmal?

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It's correct. I am still too bleary-eyed to say when you could not substitute einmal for sogar. – Eugene Seidel May 25 '13 at 5:01
Obviously, word order must change. "... sogar das Bier nicht" becomes "... nicht einmal das Bier". Thus einmal is the adverb of choice for English speakers as they can stick to their accustomed word order :) – Eugene Seidel May 25 '13 at 5:17
Note that you can only use the entire prase "nicht einmal" in this case - "einmal" by itself can never mean "even". – Mac May 27 '13 at 8:16
up vote 10 down vote accepted

"Not even" can be translated with "nicht einmal" or "sogar nicht":

He didn't drink anything … not even the beer.

Er trank gar nichts … nicht einmal das Bier.

Er trank gar nichts … sogar das Bier nicht.

"Even" in positive use cannot be translated with "einmal" but with "sogar":

He drank everything … even the milk.

Er trank alles … sogar die Milch.

NOT: Er trank alles … einmal die Milch.

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spot on answer :) – Emanuel May 25 '13 at 19:45
Sorry, I'm a little confused... to me, "sogar nicht" sounds very strange if not outright unidiomatic. I'd have said "even" = "sogar"; "not even" = "nicht einmal". Am I wrong? – Mac May 27 '13 at 8:13
"sogar nicht" is probably not used as often as "nicht einmal" or "selbst nicht", but it does occur. – Toscho May 27 '13 at 16:34

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