Reflexive verbs

Reflexive verbs are verbs with additional pronouns that are relative to the subject. These pronouns are called reflexive pronouns.

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Image: DW

False reflexive verbs

With many verbs that are used in a reflexive way, the reflexive pronoun is an accusative object. In this case, the pronoun can be replaced by another accusative object. These verbs are also known as false reflexive verbs.

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Die Frau schminkt ihre Mutter.

A person (subject in the nominative) is making up another person (object in the accusative).

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Die Frau schminkt sich.

A person (subject in the nominative) is making herself up (reflexive pronoun in the accusative).


True reflexive verbs

There are also verbs that can only be reflexive. These are known as true reflexive verbs. True reflexive verbs can be recognized in that the reflexive pronoun may not be omitted or replaced by another pronoun or noun.

Example: sich ausruhen

Nach der Arbeit ruhe ich mich aus.


Grammatical terms in German:

das reflexive Verb: Reflexive verbs are verbs with a pronoun that relates to the subject of the sentence. Reflexive verbs appear in the dictionary with the reflexive pronoun sich in front of them.

das Reflexivpronomen: Reflexive verbs are used with a reflexive pronoun. This reflexive pronoun relates to the subject. The basic form of the reflexive pronoun is sich.