I hear "eben auch" a lot on Deutschlandfunk. What is the most approximate translation to English?

Is it something like:

  • as well


  • but also

I am struggling to understand whether it exists on it's own - or is the 2nd part in context, and is only used to emphasise an additional point over and above something that has already been stated.

  • 3
    Have you looked up "eben" (Modalpartikel) and "auch" in a dictionary? There's no further meaning to "eben auch" than just "eben" and "auch". The meaning of "auch" can depend on context-- if you struggle with that, a full sentence in the question would help us to answer that. Es gibt viele Idiome im Deutschen, aber zwei Wörter sind manchmal eben auch einfach nur zwei Wörter. – HalvarF Dec 2 '20 at 17:24
  • @HalvarF nice ;) – choXer Dec 2 '20 at 17:32
  • 2
    I voted to reopen. As I said above, I think, the question cannot be answered simply with a dictionary. The question sais: I am struggling to understand whether it exists on it's own - or is the 2nd part in context This is nothing a dictionary can tell you. – jonathan.scholbach Dec 3 '20 at 10:31
  • 4
    @HalvarF I agree. But this is an information you have and I have, but someone who does not know it already won't find in the dictionary. So for me, the question is not "What does eben and what does auch mean?" (this would be answerable by a dictionary), but rather: "Does the phrase combination eben auch have a special meaning, or does it boil down to the sum of the meanings of its compartiments"? – jonathan.scholbach Dec 3 '20 at 12:58
  • 1
    I suggest to reformulate the question to not ask for an English translation, because so is it off-topic. Instead, ask for the German meaning (well, if you also try to illustrate your question by mentioning the English examples, so it will be okay). – peterh - Reinstate Monica Dec 3 '20 at 13:22

The phrase is hard to translate, because eben is a modal particle here. Modal particles do not contribute to the matter of the assertion, but they express the attitude of the speaker to the fact they are asserting. Take a more detailed introduction from Wikipedia. I quote from there:

Halt, eben, einmal (in this context, always unshortened) and nun einmal (shortened: nun mal) imply that the (often unpleasant) fact expressed in a sentence cannot be changed and must be accepted.

eben auch is just a combination of the modal particle eben and auch which means as well, too. In this combination the speaker emphasizes that a certain fact has "just" also be taken into account. Usually you will find this phrase in critique to an argument - where it expresses that the critised argument is lacking a fact which is considered rather obvious by the speaker.


"Eben" is a modal particle. As @jonathan.scholbach explained, it can be left out without changing the basic statement of the sentence, it just adds the notion that "the fact expressed in the sentence cannot be changed and must be accepted." It can also mean that the fact is well-known or obvious, in the sense of "Everybody knows that this is so.". In many contexts, no literal translation into English is possible and the sentence has to be rearranged somehow to convey the meaning.

"Auch" can either mean "also"/"as well", or it can be a modal particle with a range of meanings. https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/auch_Partikel_verstaerkend

Example for "auch" in the sense of "also" or "as well":

Frau Merkel kann abstimmen, denn sie ist als Bundeskanzlerin eben auch Abgeordnete des Bundestags.
(Mrs Merkel can vote, because as chancellor, she is obviously a member of Bundestag as well.)

Example for "auch" as a modal particle that means that the containing sentence gives reasons for or confirms an earlier statement (see Duden link above):

Er kann das Dach nicht selbst decken. Er ist eben auch kein Handwerker.
(He can't cover the roof by himself, because he is not a craftsmen, that's just the way it is.)

A very typical use of "eben auch" is, along with "aber", to provide a well-known or inevitable ("eben") additional ("auch") opposing ("aber") fact that should be taken into consideration:

Deutschland ist zwar ein wirtschaftlich starkes Land, aber militärisch eben auch von seinen Partnern abhängig.
(Germany is an economically strong country, but it is clearly also dependent on its partners militarically.)

Anna ist eine hervorragende Verkäuferin, aber sie ist eben auch nicht so vertraut mit den technischen Details wie die Ingenieurin Berta.

In Kernkraftwerken entsteht kein CO2, aber es gibt eben auch größere Risiken als bei Kohlekraftwerken.


Your English renderings of the phrase look correct to me. In addition, you can regard the first part eben as putting more emphasis on the second part auch. All in all: Your statement is correct.

  • HalvarF, this is more difficult than at first glance. You see, if one looks up the 2 words in isolation, translating what you said above - it means something like "just also"...so..there are a lot of german idioms with two words, but sometimes two words can just also be two words. Just in this sense places emphasis on the also. Ok - in that case I get it, the auch means there are two things being talked about - the german idioms and the idea of two words in isolation. Thanks. – Graham Lucas Dec 2 '20 at 20:52
  • The answer is wrong. eben is a modal particle here, whose meaning is not present in neither as well not in but also. Hence I give -1 here. – jonathan.scholbach Dec 2 '20 at 21:22
  • @jonathan.scholbach I disagree with that. Compare: Die Coronakrise beeinflußt auch die Wirtschaft; and Die Coronakrise beeinflußt eben auch die Wirtschaft. – Martin Peters Dec 3 '20 at 7:33
  • 1
    @MartinPeters I fail to see how your example contributes to your argument. – jonathan.scholbach Dec 3 '20 at 10:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.