German Language and Culture
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for Marlene
Learning German Online - An Interactive German Course for Students and Teachers
Lesson 5: Talking about time & schedules

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Reflexive pronouns and reflexive verbs

Let's step back from all the time related issues and study something else. We will introduce you now to a new class of verbs, the so called reflexive verbs. Reflexive verbs can be described as verbs, for which the subject and the direct object are the same person.

You already know reflexive verbs from English even though they are used less frequently than in German or other languages. For example the verb "to scratch oneself" is reflexive in English. Here, the reflexive pronoun "oneself" is the direct object, because the person who scratches is at the same time the person who is scratched. Thus in English, the reflexive pronouns are "myself", "yourself", "himself", "herself", "ourselves", etc ...

The following table shows the German reflexive pronouns for all persons (singular and plural):

The infinitive of reflexive verbs is formed by using "sich" plus the verb.

When you look at the reflexive verbs below, please note that most of them are not reflexive in English. For example: "sich freuen" ("to be happy") is a reflexive verb in German, weird no? When you have to deal with reflexive verbs in German that are not reflexive in English, try to build little helper contructions => Make up phrases in English that resemble the German reflexive verb. These phrases might sound a little funny, but they serve a good purpose.

For example: For the verb "sich verspäten" (to be late), think about something like "to make oneself late". Ok? Let's have a look at some useful reflexive verbs in German. Study the following list of German reflexive verbs, before we will practice their use on the following pages.

Click on the blue arrows to hear the words in German.

sich duschen
(to take a shower)

sich waschen
(to wasch oneself)

sich rasieren
(to shave oneself)

sich amüsieren
(to have fun)

sich entspannen
(to relax, to rest)

sich unterhalten
(to talk to each other)

sich kratzen
(to scratch oneself)

sich interessieren
(to be interested)

sich erkälten
(to get a cold)

sich freuen
(to be happy)

sich verspäten
(to be late)

sich umarmen
(to hug each other)

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pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12        vocabularies       Exercises [A] [B] [C] [D] [E]

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