nun vs. jetzt

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by drei_lengua, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. drei_lengua

    drei_lengua Senior Member

    Guten Abend,

    Kann mir irgendjemand den Unterschied zwischen "nun" und "jetzt" mit Beispielen erklären?

    Danke im Voraus,
  2. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    "Jetzt" means "right now," "this current point in time." As far as I know, that's pretty much the only meaning it has.

    "Ich esse jetzt." - I am eating right now.
    "Willst du jetzt ins Kino gehen?" - Do you want to go to the movies (right)now?

    "Nun" is broader, and can be used as a filler as well.

    Often storytellers will punctuate their stories with "nun"s in the same way one might use "so" or "so then" in English.
    "Nun" can be used to express annoyance: "Was willst du nun?"
    "Nun" is also used to mean "now," but has more of a connotation of "by now," as in "Nun bin ich manche Stunde / Entfernt von jenem Ort" (By now I'm many an hour away from that place - from Schubert's "Der Lindenbaum.")

    There are many other uses of "nun" that you can only master through exposure. I hope others can elaborate and contribute more.
  3. Henryk Senior Member

    Germany, German
    "Nun" kann auch als "well" genutzt werden. (Nun, das bin ich nicht gewohnt.)

    "Jetzt bin ich manche Stund von jenem Ort entfernt." sagt mir exakt dasselbe.

    Ich persönlich sehe zwischen den beiden Wörtern ad hoc keinen großen Unterschied, um den gegenwärtigen Zustand auszudrücken.
  4. Parousia

    Parousia Member

    Adelaide, Australia
    South Africa, English
    Could it also mean 'currently'? In the document I'm translating it has the following details for the owner of a property:

    Martin Garski​
    (jetzt: Jacob)

    I presume this means that the property was in Martin's name but has now being taken over by Jacob Garski (there are other entries like this, so I don't think it means that Martin has changed his name to Jacob!) I don't imagine that the use of this particular word would indicate either way(?)

  5. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    Yes, it can. This is exactly what Elroy wanted to express by this:

    By the way, I really don't see any difference between "nun" and "jetzt" in the meaning of "now" or "right now". It's just that "jetzt" is more informal, whereas you will hardly hear anyone say "nun" in everyday speech. ;)

    "Jetzt", however, can never mean "well", not even colloquially, whereas "nun" or "nun ja" are used as interjections.
  6. Parousia

    Parousia Member

    Adelaide, Australia
    South Africa, English
    Thanks. I didn't pick that up.

    Of possible interest: :rolleyes: in South Africa, immediacy is often indicated by the number of "now's" used. While it's not grammatically correct, one can use up to 3 "now's", with more meaning sooner. "Now, now" can usually be loosely interpreted as "as soon as I've finished what I'm busy with at the moment (and I am hurrying)".

    I don't know whether German has similar idiosyncracies, but perhaps common usage should be considered almost as important as grammatical correctness. I would imagine it would, at least, be a factor when interpreting documents.
  7. Kajjo

    Kajjo Senior Member

    "Jetzt sofort!" could be similar to your triple-now.

  8. Kajjo

    Kajjo Senior Member

    Zum nun/jetzt-Problem:

    Wenn "nun" als "jetzt" verwendet wird, sehe ich auch keinen signifikanten Unterschied zwischen den beiden Wörtern. Aber leider wird "nun" nicht sehr oft statt "jetzt" verwendet, sondern viel häufiger ganz anders! In vielen Fällen ist es ein Füllwort, das neben "well", "now", "actually", "indeed", "so" vieles bedeuten kann.

  9. Parousia

    Parousia Member

    Adelaide, Australia
    South Africa, English
    Yes, I reckon it's pretty much the same.
  10. superjules Senior Member

    german / Germany. location: Puerto Rico o
    Both do not necessarily imply a precise point in time. 'Ich esse jetzt', eg can also signify : I'm getting ready to eat, I'm about to eat.
  11. Parousia

    Parousia Member

    Adelaide, Australia
    South Africa, English
    Is there any difference at all, then?
  12. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    This is a future event. You can add "werden" in your sentence and it wouldn't make any difference, if you are about to go eat: "Ich werde jetzt/nun essen (gehen)."

    However, "ich esse jetzt/nun" usually means that I am eating right now. In either case I wouldn't prefer "nun", since it gets more and more old-fashioned.
  13. mortagne New Member

    Switzerland German
    Ich denke, es ist doch ein Unterschied. «Jetzt» bezeichnet einen Zeitpunkt oder Zeitraum, zu dem/in dem etwas stattfindet, und nichts als das. Es ist inhaltsneutral. «Nun» schliesst Vorangeganges mit ein, es bezieht die Aussage auf etwas, was geschehen ist und mitgedacht wird, in diesem Beispiel auf die Erlebnisse des Wanderers auf seiner Reise.
  14. brummielango

    brummielango Member

    Quite informative! Thank you!
  15. bearded

    bearded Senior Member

    To Elroy
    When you say that 'nun' can have the connotation of 'by now', do you mean that it may have the same meaning as 'nunmehr'?

Share This Page