Und viele mancher Kollegen wüssten doch noch gar nicht, dass sie nicht wieder kommen würden.[FAZ]

  1. How can doch noch gar be translated, when, according to my dictionary, both doch and noch can be translated as still?

  2. Do we have here a case of reported speech?

  • 2
    are you sure your example sentence is correct? i stumble upon "viele mancher" which means "many of some"...
    – Vogel612
    Jul 10, 2013 at 16:42
  • 2
    I don't know. But you can read it where I found it a few days ago. Just check out the link above.
    – indoxica
    Jul 10, 2013 at 16:53
  • looks like they really wrote this
    – Vogel612
    Jul 10, 2013 at 17:35
  • 1
    @Vogel612 Wrote it, yes, but did not mean it! Obviously a slip of the keyboard. Switch out mancher for ihrer and it makes perfect sense again. Jul 10, 2013 at 19:10

3 Answers 3


First things first: “Viele mancher Kollegen” is almost certainly wrong, as already noted by Vogel612 and Eugene Seidel. Perhaps it read originally “Mancher Kollege wisse …” and was redacted incompletely later; or it should be “Viele ihrer Kollegen …”, as proposed by Eugene. I’ll assume Eugene’s version here. – Also, “wieder kommen” should read “wiederkommen”.

Now, to your questions:

  • Yes, it is reported speech that is continued from the previous sentence:

    Sie wisse von nichts, sagt Ulrike Flach von der FDP, eine der dazu Einzuladenden. Und viele [ihrer] Kollegen wüssten doch noch gar nicht, dass sie nicht [wiederkommen] würden.

    So everything is an indirect quote by this Ulrike Flach von der FDP, eine der dazu Einzuladenden. In direct speech, it would read something like this:

    Ich weiß von nichts. Viele meiner Kollegen wissen doch noch gar nicht, daß sie nicht wiederkommen werden.

  • Regarding the “doch noch gar nicht”, doch and noch gar nicht are two different parts.

    Noch nicht means not yet. The negation is modified by gar (here equivalent to even): They don’t even know yet …

    For the meaning of doch, let’s first have a look at the context: It’s the last day the parliament is in session before election day. Some members (Ulrike Flach among them) aren’t running again, so it’s certain they won’t be members anymore when the parliament reconvenes; others may be re-elected or not, only time will tell. There are rumours that the president has arranged some kind of farewell ceremony for those leaving, but Flach refutes these claims: One, she hasn’t received an invitation, even though she will be leaving for certain; two, nobody can know who should be invited to this purported ceremony.

    The modal particle doch here has the function to mark the argument as logical and unsurprising to the recipient. If I had to translate it, I’d therefore try with obviously:

    Obviously, many of my fellow members don’t even know yet that they won’t be returning.

  • 1
    simply use return instead of be returning in your suggested translation since the speaker don't speak about the process of the returning. Present Progressive doesn't make sense here.
    – äüö
    Jul 11, 2013 at 6:49
  • Many thanks, indeed. Unexpectedly detailed (for which I'm perfectly happy, of course!). I apologize for not yet being able to answer in German.
    – indoxica
    Jul 11, 2013 at 7:21
  • In this particular sentence I'd translate gar to at all, not even. It's synonymous to überhaupt, not to sogar. So, "They don't know yet at all that...". Also see Wiktionary
    – Em1
    Jul 11, 2013 at 7:21

Let us dissect this wonderful example of written German language:

Indirect/reported speech

Yes, your guess is right this is an example of using subjunctive ("wüssten") in reported speech.


In this case "doch" is used as a modal particle to gently shift the meaning of the surrounding sentence. Here it may be intended to achieve some empathy or even agreement for the fact that the people we are talking about do not yet know ("wissen"). I can't think of an English counterpart to this, it may be something along the line of "however", or using "could" instead of "did".


This adverb is a often used for a temporal restriction of the following negation.

They do not yet know (but they might know in the future).


Another adverb often used to emphasis a negation.

They do not know at all.

viele mancher

Thats unsual indeed. It seems like an antagonims but it may be intended in this case where the author possibly wanted to express in few words that it were many of a smaller group of people, like saying many of the few.


ad 1) we will start with the basic construction to it:

Und viele Kollegen wüssten noch nicht, dass sie nicht wiederkommen würden.

wüssten subjunctive of wissen --> know
noch restrictive time-adverb --> yet
wiederkommen würden subjunctive of wiederkommen --> return / come back
Kollegen might be best off translated as fellow party members
viele mancher @takkat translated many of the few (this quote comes from the now weakest "conventional" party in German Bundestag, that might fall out next legislature, the FDP (free democratic party), so it might be the best possible translation)

translation basic result:

and many of the few fellow members wouldn't know yet that they would not return

doch and gar in this case act as stamination to the not-knowing of these members.
the only way i know of to reflect this in english is: at all, but as this conflicts with the current sentence structure (I have no idea where to place it) I thus leave it out.

ad 2) correct. the subjunctive indicates reported speech

  • Pretzel logic... Jul 10, 2013 at 19:13
  • @EugeneSeidel wtf? where does that fit in?
    – Vogel612
    Jul 10, 2013 at 19:15
  • 1
    "pretzel logic" is a figure of speech meaning "convoluted logic", Steely Dan merely appropriated it for the title of an album :) Jul 10, 2013 at 19:18

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