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Ich werde noch heute den Arzt anrufen.

Noch im Mai hat sie ihre Dissertation abgegeben.

These are from Hammer's German Grammar and Usage 4th Edition p203, where it is noted that this way of using 'noch' differs significantly from the other cases where there is an undertone similar to the english 'still', and that 'noch' here instead puts particular emphasis on the fact that the speaker will call the doctor e.g. today, rather than tomorrow.

I would like to ask, would anyone have further explanations about what exactly 'noch' used in this sort of sense means? e.g., what context or additional meaning would be suggested by the fact that we're using 'noch' in these examples, instead of leaving it out? Unfortunately, the commentary in Han's Grammar here is particularly short.

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  • See noch in Langenscheidt. Particularly notice as recently as, as late as, only.
    – Michael
    Jan 6, 2022 at 0:06
  • @Michael I didn't know that site, thank you for the reference!
    – shintuku
    Jan 6, 2022 at 15:19
  • "Noch im Mai ..." == "as late as May, ..." "Noch heute" == "This very day" Jan 10, 2022 at 8:02
  • @KilianFoth thank you!
    – shintuku
    Jan 11, 2022 at 4:45

1 Answer 1

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The commentary you quote is pretty accurate. The "noch" puts emphasis on the fact which it preceeds in a way that means something along the lines of "still" or "even" or "already" or "yet", but which does not exactly fit in an English sentence in that context - and which, if any, depends on the context.

Ich werde noch heute den Arzt anrufen

The today is strongly emphasized, to stress this fact which might come as a surprise to the listener, or to underline that the speaker will act without delay or similar. "I will call the doctor already today" does not convey quite the urgency expressed by the 'noch' in German.

Noch im Mai hat sie ihre Dissertation abgegeben.

(Yet) Already in May she submitted her PhD thesis - which might be quite a bit earlier than other information might have led one to believe.

Noch ohne Freigabe fuhren sie die Fabrik wieder hoch

Yet already without permission they commenced operations in the factory

Noch im Mai wurde er mit der Aussage zitiert, und will jetzt nichts mehr davon wissen

Still / As recently as in May he was cited with the statement, and now wants to have none of it anymore. (Thus it's a pretty short time to change the mind so quickly or loose memory)

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  • The second meaning is almost contrastive. After Noch im Mai..., you expect some aber which presents a deviation from the expected course (e.g., aber jetzt hat sie die Wissenschaft verlassen). Just like in the last example. Jan 6, 2022 at 8:12
  • Thank you very much for taking the time!
    – shintuku
    Jan 6, 2022 at 15:18

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