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"Ich gehe ja eigentlich nicht gern ins Theater..."

I came across this sentence and I couldn't understand why "ja" is used in here. I mean the meaning is same with or without "ja". So what does it actually mean?

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"ja" in this case is a so called "particle". It is used as a filler word without deeper meaning just to reinforce the message of the sentence.

It sometimes means something along the line of "as you (should) know", but not necessary and most times will be omitted in written language.

So a tranlation would be something along the line:

You know, I do normally not like to go to the theater...

Instead of

I do normally not like to go to the theater...

without the "ja".

Side note: Using those particles in documents within Microsoft Word with enabled spell and grammar check will result in "ja eigentlich" being underlined and explained with the message text:

Versuchen Sie, überflüssige Ausdrücke zu vermeiden (Try to avoid unnecessary expressions).

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  • 2
    It might be worth mentioning that there is a whole collection of these "flavor particles" in German. Grimm Grammer devotes a page to them.
    – RDBury
    Sep 1 at 16:44
  • 3
    And you can very well debate whether Microsoft Word is probably wrong with its recommendation - Even if they don't have a real meaning, particles do carry overtones
    – tofro
    Sep 1 at 22:56

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