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"?

  • Wer sagt, dass es besser ist? – user unknown Jun 2 '19 at 6:20
  • If most people would prefer it over the other, I consider it better. Better from the perspective of someone learning German. – Mladen Jablanović Jun 2 '19 at 14:54
  • Und wenn die Mehrheit ohne Schulterzucken sagt "in keinster Weise", statt "in keiner Weise"? – user unknown Jun 2 '19 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". – Mladen Jablanović Jun 3 '19 at 8:12
  • Danke. Würdest Du denn darauf wetten, dass "noch frei" häufiger ist als nur "frei"? – user unknown Jun 4 '19 at 13:06

"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.

  • Imagine "is this seat still free" followed by the unspoken "... or is it already occupied". – puck Jun 1 '19 at 13:45
  • @puck: Falsche Dichotomie. Imagine "is this seat free" followed by the unspoken "... or is it occupied". – user unknown Jun 2 '19 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? – user unknown Jun 2 '19 at 6:23
  • @userunknown Ich finde beide Fragen akzeptabel, aber ich vermute, dass ich in der Minderheit bin – PiedPiper Jun 2 '19 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 '19 at 15:16

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