I would appreciate any clarification on the correct usage of sogar and einmal as translations of the English word "even" when used in the following sense:

He didn't drink anything...not even the beer!

I believe this is properly translated as Er hat nichts getrunken...nicht einmal das Bier!

Is that correct? If not, should I use sogar instead? If so, when would one properly use sogar instead of einmal?

  • It's correct. I am still too bleary-eyed to say when you could not substitute einmal for sogar. May 25, 2013 at 5:01
  • 2
    Obviously, word order must change. "... sogar das Bier nicht" becomes "... nicht einmal das Bier". Thus einmal is the adverb of choice for English speakers as they can stick to their accustomed word order :) May 25, 2013 at 5:17
  • Note that you can only use the entire prase "nicht einmal" in this case - "einmal" by itself can never mean "even".
    – Mac
    May 27, 2013 at 8:16

2 Answers 2


"Not even" can be translated with "nicht einmal" or "sogar nicht":

He didn't drink anything … not even the beer.

Er trank gar nichts … nicht einmal das Bier.

Er trank gar nichts … sogar das Bier nicht.

"Even" in positive use cannot be translated with "einmal" but with "sogar":

He drank everything … even the milk.

Er trank alles … sogar die Milch.

NOT: Er trank alles … einmal die Milch.

  • spot on answer :)
    – Emanuel
    May 25, 2013 at 19:45
  • Sorry, I'm a little confused... to me, "sogar nicht" sounds very strange if not outright unidiomatic. I'd have said "even" = "sogar"; "not even" = "nicht einmal". Am I wrong?
    – Mac
    May 27, 2013 at 8:13
  • 2
    "sogar nicht" is probably not used as often as "nicht einmal" or "selbst nicht", but it does occur.
    – Toscho
    May 27, 2013 at 16:34

It probably depends on which "feel" you are going for. To me, sogar sounds more casual, whereas einmal feels formal. Also, einmal can't be properly used in positive, I think.

"Not even once" could use sogar or einmal.

"Even this week" would use sogar the best, not einmal.

  • 1
    Bitte benutz die Buttons zur Auszeichnung (kursiv, fett) und die Vorschau zur Kontrolle, ob es hübsch formatiert ist. Als Sprachbereich legen wir auch Wert auf Details wie Großschreibung am Satzanfang und Satzzeichen. Außerdem ist auf Begrüßungs- und Endfloskeln ("Hope it helps, D") zu verzichten. May 31, 2018 at 1:18

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