I know that doch means surely and sicher means sure. Could you please explain more about the collocation doch sicher in the following example? What exactly does doch sicher mean?

Sabine, du kennst doch sicher den Rudi?

  • "Sarah, you already know Rudi, right?" – Kilian Foth Aug 12 '16 at 9:02
  • @KilianFoth There's nothing in the sentence that would translate to "already", IMHO – tofro Aug 12 '16 at 14:48
  • @ThorstenDittmar Your duplicate refers to non-interrogative sentences. The meaning of "doch" is slightly different there. – tofro Aug 12 '16 at 14:49
  • 1
    @KilianFoth: »Sarah, you already know Rudi, right?« ist auf Deutsch aber: »Sarah, du kennt Rudi bereits, nicht wahr?«. Das Wort »doch« ist in diesem Fall eine Modalpartikel, die im Deutschen sehr häufig, im Englischen hingegen gar nicht zu finden sind. Siehe: german.stackexchange.com/a/12242/1487 – Hubert Schölnast Aug 12 '16 at 15:16

Doch does actually not mean "surely" in this context. It strengthens the emphasis on the "sicher" here which is something different.

Du kennst sicher den Rudi?

Would mean very much the same thing without the doch -

You surely know Rudi?

Doch is a particle that can be added to interrogative sentences to express (1) a hope for confirmation or express (2) you mean to know the answer, but it escapes you for the moment.

(1) Du kennst doch bestimmt Rudi?

Definitely asks for a "yes" as an answer, implies you expect he knows Rudi. Note the doch can go with adverbs other than sicher.

(2) Wie heißt dein Freund aus München doch gleich?

Expresses "I'm meant to know it, but can't come up with that name for the moment."

Doch and sicher are not a pair here - doch can be used with other words in questions as well, see my examples.

In non-interrogative sentences, the particle doch can have slightly different meanings, typically putting emphasis on a statement - but you should be able to look that up in a good dictionary.

  • Of course in (2) the "gleich" has basically the same function: You are not interested in what the friend's name will be soon but just what it is. – celtschk Aug 13 '16 at 4:39
  • No, it hasn't. The sentence does not imply the friend's name is going to be different at all anytime soon. It says "I should know what his name is, but cannot recall at the moment" – tofro Aug 13 '16 at 6:11

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.