• Nadine, lieg nicht gleich wieder in der Sonne!

  • “Ich mag kein Eis, und du?” – “Ich schon, ich möchte mir gleich eins kaufen.”

I know gleich can mean same or right away, so could you please tell me which is the more appropriate meaning for the two examples and how to tell? I think both of the meanings can fit.

  • 1
    right away in your examples. "I think both of the meanings can fit." No, not in these cases. Jul 22 '20 at 4:46
  • The part "Ich mag klein Eins" is wrong. Literally it means "I want little one". I have no idea what you really want to say. Please edit your question and turn that into a meaningful sentence. Jul 22 '20 at 6:41
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    @HubertSchölnast I'm pretty sure theres just an l as typo. It would make perfect sense and L is right next to K on the keyboard.
    – miep
    Jul 22 '20 at 6:53
  • Welcome to German.SE. Do you struggle to grasp the meaning for a proper translation into english? Or do you struggle what is said in german? As far as I understand, you assume the meaning "same" & "right away" would fit for the intention - would they fit in your english version of these examples? "Same" would need a comparison, "right away" would need a time reference. Jul 22 '20 at 8:18

In both cases, the only reasonable meaning is equivalent to "right away". A good rule of thumb is that usually "gleich" means "same" if it there is a form of "haben" or "sein" other than as auxiliary verb for the past tense in the sentence ("Die beiden sind gleich", "Wir haben gleich viel Eis") and "right away" when it referes to a verb other than an auxiliary verb ("Die beiden gehen gleich los", "Nach dem ersten Eis haben wir gleich noch eines gegessen").

On a more abstract level, "gleich" means "same" when it referes to a comparison (in that case it can mean "same", "similar", equal" or somthing comparable) or an evaluation (in that case it means "all the same" or "to not care") and "right away" if it referes to an action or state of beeing (in that case there is usually a more or less implicit timeline layed out).

To evaluate your examples:

Nadine, lieg nicht gleich wieder in der Sonne!

She has been lying there, than something happened and she may or may not go lie there again. "Gleich" referes to "lieg" (imperative of "liegen").

Ich mag kein Eis, und du?” – “Ich schon, ich möchte mir gleich eins kaufen.

Speaker two expresses their plan to buy an ice soon. "Gleich" referes to "kaufen".

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