Reflexive Verben


Wenn zwei sich streiten, freut sich der dritte.

When two fight, the third is happy.

Reflexive Verbs

In a reflexive clause, the action is done to the person carrying out that same action. Reflexive clauses only can be formed by certain verbs. These verbs are called reflexive verbs and exist in German as well as English though there are far less of them in English.

In English, these verbs are characterized by using “oneself”, “yourself”, “ourselves”, etc. In German, the infinitive of these verbs is preceded by the pronoun sich (sich streiten, sich freuen, etc.).

Reflexive verbs in German can be reflexive in the accusative or in the dative. This is not intuitive and needs to be memorized for each verb even though most reflexive verbs are accusative.

  1. Reflexive pronouns

Depending on whether the verb is reflexive in the accusative or dative, it will use the corresponding reflexive pronouns:

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