I'm trying to understand a particular use of the word doch

If somebody says es ist meine Schuld, meaning "it's my fault", may I use doch in response to convey, essentially, "no, on the contrary, it's not your fault"?

  • I've tried to be more clear in my question, let me know if that helps explain what I'm trying to grasp.
    – Martin
    Feb 24, 2012 at 23:19
  • You might want to give an example of the Q and A that you were thinking about. And maybe what made you think of this usage. If you're unsure, don't edit your question but write it in a comment.
    – user1914
    Mar 8, 2013 at 8:53

3 Answers 3


Let me try to give you an idea on how to use "doch" in that particular context with a short story:

  1. Anna: Peter, du hast doch nicht etwa den Tee verschüttet, oder? - Peter, it wasn't you who spilled the tea, was it?
  2. Peter: Doch, es ist meine Schuld. - Yes, is is my fault.
  3. Anna: Gabi, mach das doch bitte sauber! - Gabi, would you please clean this up.
  4. Peter: Warum Gabi? Es war doch meine Schuld! - Why Gabi? It was me who's fault it was.
  5. Anna: Gabi stellte doch den Tee dort hin. - But it was Gabi who put the tea there.
  6. Peter: Also ist es doch nicht meine Schuld. - But then it is not really my fault.
  7. Anna: Du hättest besser acht geben sollen. - You should have watched out more.
  8. Peter: Ist es also doch meine Schuld. - So it is my fault then.
  9. Anna: Ja, doch ich verzeihe dir. - Yes, but I forgive you.
  10. Gabi: Soll ich nun putzen? - Do I have to clean up now?
  11. Anna: Aber nein, es ist doch nicht Deine Schuld, Peter hat es getan. - No you don't have to, it is not your fault at all. Peter did it.

You can see that depending on context doch is used in different meanings that can not be translated 1:1. It gets further comlicated because the meanig of a sentence may change with emphasis (see 4., 6., 8.). Example 11. may come close to what you asked.

We can use "doch" as an adverb, as a particle, or as conjunction. You will find further examples in the referenced Duden entries, and also in this question.

  • 5
    If you keep going on even I do not know anymore, how "doch" is used correctly ;) Feb 25, 2012 at 11:43
  • Great answer, I understand this context a little better now. Your answer will no doubt be a good reference for me to refer back to if in doubt – thanks.
    – Martin
    Feb 25, 2012 at 11:52
  • It is indeed a nice example but when you take a close look the vast majority of the doch in there is the doch replying to a negative. The one of : nein - doch. There are a lot of meanings missing.
    – Emanuel
    Feb 27, 2012 at 10:30

No, this is not possible. Doch can only be used as a response to negative statements. For example, if someone says

Es ist nicht meine Schuld.

then you can answer


to express that you think it is their fault (although they deny). I believe there's no short translation for this doch to English.

If someone says

Es ist meine Schuld.

then it doesn't make sense to simply answer with Doch, but you could very well say

Das stimmt doch gar nicht.

  • Thanks, this is what I was trying to determine. I read somewhere else that you can only say doch in response to a negative statement, and I wrongly thought that 'it is my fault' is negative, but of course, 'it is not my fault' is the negative – and so 'doch' in response means 'on the contrary, it is your fault'.
    – Martin
    Feb 25, 2012 at 11:48
  • The short English version of that "Doch!" is something like "Yes, it is [your fault]!"
    – Robert
    Jan 17, 2014 at 19:48

"Es ist meine Schuld" is a complete sentence, means It's my fault

it's not your fault would be:

"Es ist nicht deine Schuld."

If you see somebody is punished for something you did, you may say (directing the sentence to the punisher):

"Es ist doch meine Schuld"

Or you could use it to console somebody (Don't worry, it's my fault). But it needs the statement, somebody else is taken the blame or feels responsible for your fault.

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