Sie müssen das nicht mehr heute tun.

English Translation

You don’t have to do that today.

Is “mehr” necessary in this sentence?

It’s more like “you don’t have to do that again today”… the English translation is a bit off here.

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No, but it adds a nuance to it like “you don’t have to do overtime just to do it today”, so it’s a permission to postpone it for later.
The “nicht mehr” (=not anymore) basically means “it has become too late now to be wanting to do it before the day ends”.

It’s also similar to “nicht heute noch”. Or it might be an answer to “Muss ich das heute noch tun?”.
“heute noch” = “by the end of the day”

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There is no “again” nuance in the german sentence!

I know where you’re coming from:
Sie müssen das nicht mehr tun. = You don’t need to keep doing it = You can stop doing it.

But here it’s not about “nicht mehr tun”, but rather about “nicht mehr heute”.

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Ah, okay. What if we changed it to “Sie müssen das heute nicht mehr tun”?

Or would we have to rephrase it to “Sie müssen das heute nicht wieder tun” in order to mean “you don’t have to do that again today”?

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Ah, okay. What if we changed it to “Sie müssen das heute nicht mehr tun”?

Yes, that would change the meaning to “You can stop doing it for today. (but continue tomorrow)”

“nicht mehr” emphasizes that the necessity of doing it is over. For that, it didn’t even have to be done before. It was necessary the whole time, but not anymore.
“nicht wieder” emphasizes that the need to repeat it is over. It was done at least once, more likely multiple times.

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The English translation that was given is more than ‘a bit’ off. Yours, however, nailed it. Yet another case of understanding the grammar being dependent on hearing how the sentence would be spoken and used. Well done!

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That’s strange, because I think the english translation is ok, even though the “mehr” part is missing, but that one is hard to express in english.
What I get from both the german and english sentences is “It’s not imperative that it be done today. Tomorrow is still fine as well”. So to me they match.

Maybe I’m misunderstanding the english translation, but with “again” I would translate that differently to german:
Sie müssen das heute nicht wieder tun.
or
Sie müssen das heute nicht nochmal tun.

It’s maybe ambiguous (or at least confusing) in English, because you end up with two time specifiers in the same sentence:

“You don’t have to do that today anymore” = you still have to do it, just not today.

“You don’t have to do that anymore today” = you’ve been doing it repeatedly today, but you can stop now.

I think if I were to try to translate into English based on your description of how it works in German, I’d probably go with “that’s good for today” to avoid saying something like “again today” or “today anymore”.

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