4

Is either einfach, gerade, or jetzt the German equivalent to just in English? For example,

He just called me.

Is the German translation

  1. Er hat mich eben angerufen?
  2. Er hat mich gerade angerufen?
  3. Er hat mich einfach angerufen?

Or is einfach just used to express imperative phrases? For example,

Gehst du einfach in den Supermarkt!
(Meaning just go to the supermarket?)

Thanks guys.:)

  • 1
    mich, anstatt mir – c.p. May 14 at 6:52
  • @Björn Friedrich Danke dir – Vishva De Zoysa May 14 at 15:03
  • @c.p. Danke dir – Vishva De Zoysa May 14 at 15:03
  • 1
    "Geh einfach in den Supermarkt!" – user unknown May 14 at 22:51
5

I'd say it depends on the meaning of "just" in the english sentence: He just called meas in he called just a minute ago could be

Er hat mich gerade eben angerufen

Er hat mich gerade angerufen

Er hat mich eben angerufen

but einfach would be wrong in this context.

If you want to express some kind of surprise or indignation, as in He just called me! Without further consideration! then it would be

Er hat mich einfach angerufen

Er hat mich einfach so angerufen

Or another possibility, as in He didn't even come to my place, he just called me:

Er hat mich nur angerufen

Er hat mich einfach nur angerufen

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3

"Geh (jetzt) einfach in den Supermarkt!" would indeed be Just go to the supermarket (already)!. Nike's slogan just do it can be translated as Mach es einfach.

On the other hand, "einfach" can also mean simple (eine einfache Mathematikaufgabe; opposite of "schwierig") and once (not twice): "Eine einfache Wiederholung" could thus mean "a one-time repetition", but also "a simple repetition". "Geh einfach in den Supermarkt" could be interpreted as "please don't go twice", but that's a bit of a stretch, because nobody would say it like this normally, I guess.

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1

All three translations are correct.

Er hat mich eben angerufen?
and
Er hat mich gerade angerufen?
are basically equivalent and express a temporal relation.

In some regions of Germany, people might consider eben to be a bit further in the past than gerade, but the difference is insignificant.

The third translation re-translated to English might be He simply called me.


I can't think of any phrases or sentences, where einfach would express an imperative. If you say, for instance, Mach es einfach!, the imperative is the verb machen, not the adverb einfach.

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