Er kommt jeden Moment.

English Translation

He will be here any moment.

Wouldn’t that mean “he comes every moment”? I know that’s not something anyone would ever say, but I’m confused how “jeden” suddenly means “any” here and not “every”.

I tried this in Google Translate just now: “He’s coming any minute” is “Er kommt jede Minute”. But if I try “He comes every minute”, I get the same translation! “Er kommt jede Minute”. How can you tell what “jede” is supposed to mean?

1 Like

Er kommt jedes Jahr (z.B. heim) = He comes (e.g home)every year
Er kommt jeden Moment = He will be here any moment

In these examples it is clear: Nobody can come every moment and nobody will expect anybody to arrive soon in a whole year.

“Er kommt jede Minute” will normally be understood just like “er kommt jeden Moment” .
You might imagine a situation where somebody is arriving again and again every minute, but it is quite a stretch. So basically it is understood by context but I think the potential for misunderstanding is minimal.

4 Likes

German does not have a word for “any”. “Jeder/e/s” is used for both “any” and “every”, and the context makes it clear which is meant. Sometimes “(irgend)jemand” or “(irgend)etwas” is used, as well as other ways to express the idea.

You can see it like this: Every moment has the same high chance that he is coming.

Some examples:
Anyone could do this. - Jeder könnte das machen.
Anything is possible. - Alles ist möglich.
Isn’t there anything I can do? - Gibt es denn nichts was ich tun kann? (not any = nothing)
I don’t see any people on the street. - Ich sehe keine Menschen auf der Straße.
Take anything you want. - Nimm dir was immer du möchtest. (= Take whatever you want)
Think of any number. - Denk dir irgendeine Zahl aus.
Do you have any food? - Haben Sie (irgendwelches) Essen? or Haben Sie etwas zu Essen?

4 Likes