I have read that "eben noch" usualy means "a minute ago" or something that implies past time. But in this text:

+"Ich kann kein Tablett tragen! Das weißt du doch!" -"Dann üben wir das eben noch."

What does eben noch here mean?


The expression eben noch may mean a minute ago but also just now. The latter is a short form of gerade eben noch. You have to guess that from context.

Eben noch konnte ich kein Tablett tragen.

Ich konnte eben noch kein Tablett tragen.

A minute ago I could not carry a tray.

Dann üben wir es eben noch.

In that case we practice it just now.

In addition, eben, noch and eben noch may also be modal particles. That's a matter of stress. Modal particles are never stressed.

Dann üben wir es eben noch.

In that case we practice it. Again … and again … and again.

That addition Again… is not a literal translation of eben noch but a patient mood sprinkled over the sentence. "I don't care when."


+"Ich kann kein Tablett tragen! Das weißt du doch!" -"Dann üben wir das eben noch."

I can't carry a tray! (tried it before & failed) You know that! _–

  • Well, then we'll just keep practicing that.
  • Well, let's practice more on that.


I can't carry a tray! (never tried it before & but fear to fail) You know that! –

  • Well, let's practice that too ((then) as well/ shall we?) .

Eben – just (here also emphasised by using 'Well then')

(modal particle) so, just, simply, indicating that something is generally known, or cannot be changed, or the like; often untranslatable
Synonym: halt
Er ist eben ein Idiot...
So he's an idiot...
Dann müssen wir eben härter arbeiten.
Then we'll just have to work harder.
(modal particle) just, quickly, indicating that something is done fast or without much complication
Synonym: kurz
Ich geh mal eben zur Theke.
I'll just go to the bar.
Könnten Sie mir vielleicht eben helfen?
Could you maybe help me out really quickly?
just; a moment ago
Wo ist denn dein Mann? Der saß doch eben noch hier.
Where's your husband? He was sitting here just a minute ago.
(literary, with dieser) exactly, very
Synonym: genau
Es sollte eben diese Entscheidung sein, die ihn in den Bankrott treiben würde.
It would be this very decision that drove him into bankruptcy.

noch – more (here, also keep doing it)

noch still, yet (up to and including a given time)
Du magst mich noch. ― You still like me.
yet (thus far; up to the present)
Ich bin noch nicht fertig. ― I’m not ready yet.
some day, yet (at an unknown time in the future)
another, more, additional, in addition, besides, else (when referring to people)
Da ist noch einer. ― There’s another one.
Da sind noch welche. ― There are some more.
Ich habe noch Schokolade im Auto. ― I have some more chocolate in the car.
(only) just; barely (by a small margin)


Eben noch can be used in different ways and, as explained by @janka above and here, you can tell them apart by where the stress is placed in the sentence. But what if you just read the written sentence? Then you can try to mentally supplement them with the follwoing phrases.

Eben noch in its temporal sense can always be supplemented by aber..., it conveys the meaning of recent change:

Eben war er noch da. / Er war eben noch da. (... aber jetzt ist er weg - but now he's gone)

When used as a particle, it can always be preceded (in your mind) by macht nichts or kein Problem:

(Kein Problem, ...) dann üben wir das eben noch. (don't worry/no problem, we'll just practice it)

There's also a third, non-temporal and less frequently used meaning of eben noch, which is the same as gerade noch:

Das Material reicht eben noch, um ein weiteres Teil herzustellen. = The material is sufficient to produce just one more part. (but not a second one)

(stress is marked in bold in all examples)

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