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At the end of the news program Tagesschau the host always says "Ich wünsche Ihnen noch einen schönen Abend". Today a German typed that to me as well at the end of a conversation. I understand the sentence, but what's the functionality of "noch" here exactly? Is it here to signify a kind of meaning of "in addition", "before we go", "one last thing"?

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  • Since you've already spent part of the evening with the speaker, it would be impolite to presume that this was a source of pleasure for you. Therefore the polite thing to do is to wish you well for the rest of the evening. Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 7:53

3 Answers 3

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To me, noch refers to the fact that the evening has already begun. An approximate equivalent in English would be:

Enjoy the rest of your evening.

You can also say on Sunday after shopping at the baker's:

Ich wünsche Ihnen noch einen schönen Sonntag.

But you wouldn't say it on Saturday – then you'd need to omit the noch.

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Re. comments: Sorry for being ambiguous above. I meant that on Saturday, you wouldn’t wish noch einen schönen Sonntag. You can obviously say noch einen schönen Samstag. Or, if there is reason to explicitly refer to the next day (e.g. because you have been told that some special activities will be taking place): einen schönen/erträglichen/etc. Sonntag (dann) (without noch, and with an optional dann that emphasises that you are referring back to your previous discussion about the next day’s activities).

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    Why wouldn't one use it in Wünsche Ihnen noch einen schönen Samstag? The wish addresses the remainder, and the day had already begun.
    – dakab
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 7:21
  • Upvoted because I think it describes the crucial point. Nonetheless, I disagree with the bit about Saturday. You probably want to point out the vendor will not have a nice Saturday because they have to work. Still, the day (or at least parts thereof) could be nice anyway, and your reasoning should be made more explicit. Otherwise, language learners might quickly misinterpret this as a weird language rule that you cannot use the word noch on Saturday or such nonsense. Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 7:48
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    @dakab & @ O. R. Mapper, I think, you misinterpreted the last sentence: It states that you do not use the sentence Ich wünsche Ihnen noch einen schönen Sonntag. in Saturday, because it's not Sunday. So, on Saturday, you have to omit the word noch. But if you want to wish someone a pleasant Saturday (on Saturday of course), you certainly use Ich wünsche Ihnen noch einen schönen Samstag.. You only use noch on the same day, time of day, and so on.
    – biolauri
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 8:54
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    @AdInfinitum: It implicitly refers to the current activity/event/stay. Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 13:52
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    @AdInfinitum: The focus is on the remainder of the current activity/event/stay, after the moment of making the statement. Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 6:37
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This is one of those German particles that are tricky to translate to English...

I would probably go with

I wish you a continued pleasant evening (after I stopped talking to you).

As @EndreBoth mentions in his answer, this implies, that said evening has already started. And as you mentioned, it also has a bit of "goodbye" in the background.

In French, I'd translate it to "Bon soirée!" instead of "Bon soir.", if this is any help.

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    +1. The noch makes the sentence a goodbye message.
    – Janka
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 21:14
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    @Janka: But "Ich wünsche Ihnen einen schönen Abend." is equally suitable as a goodbye message. Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 7:43
  • I think, the word noch can strengthen the goodbye of the message, albeit it is already in the sentence without the noch.
    – biolauri
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 9:04
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    @O. R. Mapper: Ich wünsche Ihnen einen schönen Abend. could also be said as a welcome message.
    – Janka
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 13:26
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In this case "noch" is used in the sense of "noch mehr".

Noch mehr schöne Zeit an diesem Abend in this case.

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  • Noch mehr als was? Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 1:31

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