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I am watching a little cartoon and I do not understand the German subtitles, especially this sentence:

Man nennt dich doch auch...

What does doch auch mean? Why are they both in the same sentence?

  • So when we compare somebody or something, do we have to use "auch" ? <<Man nennt dich doch auch "Superhirn">> e.g taken from @Martin Schwehla Meine schwester nennt mich auch "Die Katze" and "doch" is to put emphasis on the comparison ? – Lora85 Mar 19 '15 at 11:46
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Why are they both in the same sentence?

Coincidentally. As far as I know doch auch isn't a fixed expression in German.

What does doch auch mean?

auch means also in this context, as in: They also call you....

doch has many meanings in German (see also here for an article in English). In this case, it seems to emphasize that the addressed person should already know that they are also called this name. So it expresses that the sentence is only a reminder, not new information. This might also be as a reaction to what the addressee said before (eg a question).

Without the full context a complete translation is difficult, but I would guess something like But you know that they also call you ... or possibly (if in reply to a question) Because - as you already know - they also call you ...

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    This is a nuance but I think it's more like "don't they?" than "as you already know"... that would be more "ja". The "doch" wants the other person to confirm in some way. – Emanuel Mar 18 '15 at 22:57
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    @Emanuel: I disagree - I'd rather say it's like "ja" supposes the other person is already consciously aware of the fact, whereas "doch" implies the other person knew before, may have forgotten, and is now supposed to call the knowledge back into their mind. I don't see the need for an actual confirmation in either of the situations - at least not a confirmation for the correctness of the statement; if anything, maybe a confirmation for the returning memory of the other person, something like: "Oh, right." – O. R. Mapper Mar 19 '15 at 8:49
  • @O.R.Mapper... well, I can imagine the sentence of the question being continued in two ways. 1) "Man nennt dich doch auch Superman, oder?" or 2) (slightly changed) "Man nennt ihn doch auch den Macher, das weißt du doch." In both cases the speaker wants the other person to agree with him. Not necessarily by saying "Yes" but there is an element of "Come on, you (should) know I'm right.". The element of reminding is in there, for sure. I just don't think "as you already know" is a good match because that phrase does not want anything in return. – Emanuel Mar 19 '15 at 12:18
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A little more information about the context would have been helpful, but it seems the phrase refers to a comparison here. I'm just making up a dialogue which I think would match:

A: Wieso nennt man ihn "Karotte", er ist doch kein Gemüse? (Why do they call him 'carrot' while he's not a vegetable?)

B: Dich nennt man doch auch "Bohnenstange", obwohl du nicht aus Holz bist! (But the same goes for you, don't you think? They call you bean pole although you're not a piece of wood!)

"Doch" (here: after all) is a modal particle aimed to appeal to the other's understanding, "auch" (also) is part of the comparison.

Of course there are other possibilities, e.g.

Man nennt dich doch auch "Superhirn", kannst du mir vielleicht sagen, wie ich... (They also call you 'mastermind', don't they, perhaps you can tell me how...)

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  • So when we compare somebody or something, do we have to use "auch" ? <<Man nennt dich doch auch "Superhirn">> e.g taken from @Martin Schwehla Meine schwester nennt mich auch "Die Katze" and "doch" is to put emphasis on the comparison ? – Lora85 Mar 19 '15 at 11:46
  • @Lora85 Not as a rule, but you can use it to express that two things you compare are equal: "Mein Hut ist grün und deiner auch" instead of "mein Hut ist genauso grün wie deiner" if the comparison is just about general categories, not about qualities like the intensity of the colour. It only applies to my first, not to my second example. – Martin Schwehla Mar 19 '15 at 13:28
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Auch

This simply means too, additionally, also, as well, …

Doch

This can have different meanings depending on pronunciation.

Pronounced as a statement (voice going down at the end)

Doch here means after all (see Martin Schwehla's answer).

Pronounced as a question (voice going or staying up at the end)

Doch here means don't they? or as you already know (see tim's answer and Emanuel's comment).

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  • So when we compare somebody or something, do we have to use "auch" ? <<Man nennt dich doch auch "Superhirn">> e.g taken from @Martin Schwehla Meine schwester nennt mich auch "Die Katze" and "doch" is to put emphasis on the comparison ? – Lora85 Mar 19 '15 at 11:45
  • Neither auch nor doch mean a comparison. auch simply means, that one of the specific aspects concerned is not unique. In this case, that aspect can be the addressee dich or the title Superhirn. Somebody else also bears the title Superhirn or the addressee also has another title like Superfuß. – Toscho Mar 19 '15 at 12:09

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