Other verbs used reflexively


Verbs with an accusative object

Many verbs taking an accusative object can also be used reflexively when it relates the action back to the subject:

With an accusative                  →  object Reflexive
Er möchte die Welt ändern.    → Er möchte sich ändern.
He wants to change the world.→He wants to change (himself).
Wir waschen das Auto.           →Wir waschen uns.
We wash the car.                    →We wash ourselves./ We have a wash.

Other frequently used verbs of this type are: sich anziehen ‘to get dressed’, sich setzen ‘to sit down’, sich fragen ‘to ask oneself’, sich vorbereiten ‘to prepare oneself’, sich vorstellen ‘to introduce oneself’.

Verbs with a dative object

Many verbs that require a dative object can be used with a dative reflexive pronoun if the action focuses on the subject itself:

With a dative object             →  Reflexive
Ich werde dem Kind helfen. → Ich werde mir selbst helfen.
I will help the child.               → I will help myself.
Du schadest der Umwelt.     →Damit schadest du dir.
You are harming the environment → You are harming yourself with that.

Other verbs belonging to this group are: sich widersprechen ‘to contradict oneself’, sich erlauben ‘to allow oneself something’, sich leisten ‘to be able to afford something’, sich zumuten ‘to ask something of oneself’.