German Reflexive Verbs in the Dative Case

Reflexive Verbs in the Dative Case

What is a reflexive verb?

A German reflexive verb describes an action of someone (subject) where the action reflects back to the subject. German reflexive verbs are used in connection with a reflexive pronoun such as myself or yourself in English. Reflexive verbs are very common in the German language and they of course depend on the case. Best to fresh up the German cases in our blog How the German Cases work – Nominative, Accusative, Dative and Genitive
In this blog we are only looking at reflexive verbs in the dative case. Don’t miss out our blog about German Reflexive Verbs in the Accusative Case 🙂

When to use a reflexive verb?

Reflexive verbs are used:

– to describe things you do to yourself
– to describe a sudden change of some sort (getting dressed, being in a hurry)

How to build a sentence with a reflexive verb?

Du wäschst dir die Hände. = You wash (yourself) the hands.
Du = Subject
wäschst = reflexive verb
dir = reflexive pronoun

Dative case

If the reflexive pronoun is the indirect object in the sentence the case will be dative. Or to make it simpler:

If there are two objects then the reflexive pronoun takes the dative.

Reflexive pronouns

Dative Meaning
mir myself
dir yourself
sich himself/herself/itself
uns ourselves
euch yourselves
sich themselves
sich yourself/yourselves

Reflexive Verbs which are followed by the Dative Case

Reflexive Verb Meaning Example Sentence
sich abgewöhnen to give something up Ich gewöhne mir das Rauchen ab.
sich anhören to listen to Hörst du dir das neue Album an?
sich ansehen to watch something Er sieht sich den Film im Kino an.
sich einbilden to imagine something Wir bilden uns das Gespenst nur ein.
sich erlauben to allow something Meine Mutter erlaubt mir nicht auf die Party zu gehen.
sich kaufen to buy oneself Wir kaufen uns eine Katze.
sich leisten to afford Das Auto kann ich mir nicht leisten.
sich merken to keep in mind Diesen Vorfall merke ich mir.
sich vornehmen to undertake something Katja nimmt sich vor, mehr Sport zu machen.
sich vorstellen to imagine Das Leben in Australien stelle ich mir toll vor.
sich wünschen to wish Was wünscht du dir zu Weihnachten?
Share this:
  • sameer

    wow i like this 1 really a refreshin tp after studies awesumm

  • amer

    Das ist fantastich,vieln Dank!!

  • Carolina

    Was wünscht du dur zu Weihnachten?

    why is “dur”? :s

  • Hi Carolina. Thanks for pointing that out. It was a typo which I’ve now corrected 🙂

  • Frederick Botchey

    Great help and relief for me. After a long hustle all is simplified

  • Alex

    Hi, I’ve just started learning German, I just wanted to ask if the reflexive pronoun in those verbs in the dative list are ALWAYS in dative?

  • Hi Alex,

    Yes, all the verbs mentioned in our blog are dative :-).