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When negating a negative question while replying in German one crisply says " doch! ".

Is such a single word usage prevalent in English? Like : "why not?" or " it is not so!", " on the contrary," etc. are not fast reactions.

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    Asking for a specific English word in a German forum seems off- topic. Our sister sites "English Language and Usage" or "English Language Learners" would be a better choice. – Stephie Sep 3 '15 at 12:26
  • Possibly, you may want to read about four-form, three-form, and two-form systems. – O. R. Mapper Sep 3 '15 at 14:06
  • Thanks, i now know that there existed a four-form system. – Narasimham Sep 3 '15 at 16:12
  • I think the search for paraphrasing of a german language in another language is difficult to classify: Does the question belong to german, as the expression is uniquely and typically german? Or does the poster not understand enough german to be helped by a german explanation? This case is borderline, because a direct translation of "doch" exists in french ("si"), but not in english or spanish, for example. Mythenmetz's answer below shows that it is not so difficult to answer along the on-topic guidelines. – Dirk Sep 3 '15 at 21:00
  • No problem with sufficient understanding of either language. Actually the way the single word punch or emphasis that comes through in German is more compared to English, or so I felt. One finds the same effect in some Indian languages as well. – Narasimham Sep 3 '15 at 21:25
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I think, the closest phrases in the english language would be sure or Yes, of course. Still, there is no exact translation.

So you really can't do this? - Sure I can!

Isn't this your friend John? - Why, yes he is.

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  • You can also use it to disagree: "John did not eat the apple, did he?" "Doch, doch!" - (Yes he ate it). That's why you hear it as an answer to negative questions – Noldor130884 Sep 3 '15 at 13:06
  • Mention "wohl" as equivalent? «Das kannst Du nicht.» - «[Doch.] Kann ich wohl! / Wohl kann ich das.» – Dirk Sep 3 '15 at 21:01
  • «Ist nicht on-topic.» - «Doch.» / «Ist es [sehr] wohl.» / «Und ob es das ist.» ;-) – Dirk Sep 3 '15 at 21:03
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It's like paraphrasing 'I disagree - it's the other way round...'


  • 'no, not at all' is different, like -> 'Nein, überhaupt nicht'

You could agree to a negation with that! -> 'this is not true - no, not at all...'

  • 'why not' gives you a choice - 'might be - or not - so, why not?

'doch' doesn't give you that choice...


Maybe it helps better when you look at the whole phrase: 'Das ist nicht wahr - doch, es ist wahr'
-> 'This is not true - of course it is...'
-> 'This is not true - sure it is...'

But with 'sure/of course' you can also agree, with 'doch' you can't!

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