er sich? Using reflexive verbs & pronouns




  • In German, reflexive verbs are much more common than in English, and many are used in everyday German. Reflexive verbs consist of two parts: the reflexive pronoun sich (meaning himself, herself, itself, themselves or oneself) and the infinitive of the verb.

Forming the present tense of reflexive verbs

  • Reflexive verbs are often used to describe things you do (to yourself) every day or that involve a change of some sort (getting dressed, sitting down, getting excited, being in a hurry).
  • The reflexive pronoun is either the direct object in the sentence, which means it is in the accusative case, or the indirect object in the sentence, which means it is in the dative case. Only the reflexive pronouns used with the ich and du forms of the verb have separate accusative and dative forms:
Accusative Form Dative Form Meaning
mich mir myself
dich dir yourself (familiar)
sich sich himself/herself/itself
uns uns ourselves
euch euch yourselves (plural)
sich sich themselves
sich sich yourself/yourselves (polite)



reflexive pronouns for emphasis

  • In English, pronouns used for emphasis are the same as normal reflexive pronouns, for example, I did it myself. In German selbst or, in informal spoken language, selber are used instead of reflexive pronouns for emphasis. They never change their form and are always stressed, regardless of their position in the sentence:
Ich selbst habe es nicht gelesen, aber … I haven’t read it myself, but …





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