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Somebody mentioned this as a common phrase to ask for a seat next to someone.

Why "noch" in there? Why is it more usual than simply "ist da frei"?

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  • Wer sagt, dass es besser ist? Jun 2, 2019 at 6:20
  • If most people would prefer it over the other, I consider it better. Better from the perspective of someone learning German. Jun 2, 2019 at 14:54
  • Und wenn die Mehrheit ohne Schulterzucken sagt "in keinster Weise", statt "in keiner Weise"? Jun 2, 2019 at 18:58
  • Yep, I'd be interested in knowing that too. There's usually a reason people talk how they talk, even if it's not codified in the rules. There. I fixed my question for you. :) No more "better". Jun 3, 2019 at 8:12
  • Danke. Würdest Du denn darauf wetten, dass "noch frei" häufiger ist als nur "frei"? Jun 4, 2019 at 13:06

1 Answer 1

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"Ist da frei"? simply means "is the seat free?".
"Ist da noch frei?" means "is the seat still free?".
Most people would consider the second version slightly more polite.

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  • Imagine "is this seat still free" followed by the unspoken "... or is it already occupied".
    – puck
    Jun 1, 2019 at 13:45
  • @puck: Falsche Dichotomie. Imagine "is this seat free" followed by the unspoken "... or is it occupied". Jun 2, 2019 at 6:18
  • @PiedPiper: Darf man das "Most people" so verstehen, dass Du dich da nicht anschließen willst? Dass es ein höflicher Hinweis ist, dass die zweite Form nicht besser ist? Jun 2, 2019 at 6:23
  • @userunknown Ich finde beide Fragen akzeptabel, aber ich vermute, dass ich in der Minderheit bin
    – PiedPiper
    Jun 2, 2019 at 9:13
  • 2
    @MladenJablanović Yes, "noch" is temporal here. I think there is a general feeling that padding a short question with 'filler' words makes them seem more polite, but maybe I'm wrong. You can certainly use either version
    – PiedPiper
    Jun 2, 2019 at 15:16

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