Reflexive Pronouns in German Grammar

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What are the German reflexive pronouns?

The reflexive pronouns (Reflexivpronomen) in German grammar are: mich/mir, dich/dir, uns, euch and sich.

We use them with reflexive and reciprocal verbs. Reflexive pronouns always refer to the subject and must be declined to match the case they are in.

Learn how and when to use reflexive pronouns with Lingolia, then practise everything in the exercises.

Table of reflexive pronouns

The table below shows the German reflexive pronouns.

Note that only the 1st and 2nd person singular have a different form.

ich du er/sie/es wir ihr sie/Sie
Accusative mich dich sich uns euch sich
Dative mir dir sich uns euch sich

When to use reflexive pronouns in German

We use reflexive pronouns with two different types of verbs in German grammar:

Reflexive verbs use the reflexive pronouns with the meaning of “oneself”; i.e. the subject and the object of the verb are one and the same.

Ich dusche mich.I’m showering.
literally: I’m showering myself

We use the reflexive pronoun in the dative if there is a second object in the sentence. For more info, see our page on reflexive verbs.

Ich putze mir die Zähne.I’m brushing my teeth.

Reciprocal verbs use the reflexive pronouns with the meaning “each other”. Therefore, we can only use reciprocal verbs in the plural.

Ich glaube, wir kennen uns.I think we know each other.

Common reciprocal verbs include: sich kennen, sich sehen, sich lieben, sich streiten, sich einigento know/see/love/fight with/agree with each other.

Ich sehe mich Wir sehen uns.
Ich sehe mich.I see myself.
(I see myself in the miriror – reflexive)
Wir sehen uns.We see each other.
(we see one another; you see me, I see you – reciprocal)

I did it myself!

In English, reflexive pronouns are often used to emphasise that someone has done something for themselves.

For example, when a young child manages to get dressed alone for the first time, we might say “Little Maisie got dressed all by herself!”

Such sentences are expressed with selbst in German.

Die kleine Maisie hat sich selbst angezogen.Little Maisie got dressed (all by) herself.