Cracking ‘Eben’: The Challenge of Translating a Unique German Term

Have you ever felt like a detective trying to crack the code of a mysterious word?

I sure did while talking to my friend and colleague, Lisa, when she casually used the German word ‘eben‘ during our conversation.

Lisa explained that it’s a word often used in German to emphasise a point or confirm something.

At that moment, I had no idea how to translate it into English! It was like facing a linguistic puzzle.

So, I delved into the world of ‘eben‘ to see what secrets it held.

Let’s take a look together!

Eben” can be translated in different ways depending on the context in which it is used. 

For example, if someone says: Das ist eben so in German, it could be translated as That’s just the way it is or That’s how it goes.

Here are a few more examples:

  • Eben das wollte ich sagen. That’s exactly/precisely what I wanted to say.
  • Das ist nicht eben billig.That’s not exactly cheap.
  • Ich habe es eben erst erfahren. I’ve just found out.
  • Er ist eben abgereist. He’s just left.

I like that little word “eben”.

Do you have a favourite little German word that you find difficult to translate into English?


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Foto Christine Sparks

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