What does “aber” mean in English in the following sentence?

Das habe ich aber nicht bestellt.

That's not what I ordered.

  • Clearly a duplicate; unfortunately, the answers on the other question are as incorrect as on this one. – chirlu Aug 15 '16 at 22:23
  • @chirlu: Ich hatte mich geirrt. 'Aber' wird hier wohl tatsächlich als Konjunktion oder Konnektor-Adverb eingeordnet, nicht als Abtönungspartikel. duden.de/rechtschreibung/aber_Konjunktion_Bedeutung_doch Auch könnte es im Vorfeld / vor dem finiten Verb stehen, was Abtönungspartikeln nicht könnten. – user22484 Aug 16 '16 at 0:05

Taken out of context, the "aber" has no meaning at all. The literal translation of

That's not what I ordered.


Das habe ich nicht bestellt

"Aber" is a conjunction or a modal particle (and in this case a modal particle), it combines what was previous said with the sentence at hand. In english, its best expressed using "but", e.g. in

"Here is your X" - "But thats not what I ordered."

So, in this case, the sentence means

But that is not what I ordered.

It refences what was said (or offered) just before.

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  • While there is a conjunction aber, that’s obviously not the word in this sentence; there are no two clauses a conjunction could connect. This aber is a modal particle. – chirlu Aug 15 '16 at 22:15

I would translate "aber" in this context as "however," even though it usually means "but."

"Das habe ich aber nicht bestellt.

That's not what I ordered," however.

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  • This answer also fails to correctly identify aber as a modal particle. Duden describes it as expressing emphasis and/or emotional involvement of the speaker. – chirlu Aug 15 '16 at 22:20

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