Reflexive Verbs & Pronouns Listening Comprehension Practice

This week’s A1/A2 video is targeted at learning the reflexive verbs and pronouns in German. This lesson is filled with example sentences using the reflexive verbs and pronouns. If you want to see a bunch of examples in a funny skit with Herr Antrim, watch the video above. If you want to see a more detailed explanation of how the reflexive verbs and pronouns are used and why, you can keep on scrolling for that.

German for Beginners #20: Reflexive Verbs & Pronouns

If you want to read the story instead, you can find the script below the video and grammar explanation. If you want to download the script as a side-by-side file with German and English next to each other or get a worksheet with answer key and an mp3 download of the skit, you can get that for FREE in my A1/A2 bundle.

This post is one of several about the reflexive pronouns and what normal teachers call the “reflexive verbs” in German. If you are ready to take the deep dive into the reflexive pronouns, take a look at all of the articles in this series about the reflexive forms in German.

If you are really wanting to put your German learning on track, consider joining Herr Antrim’s Deutschlerner Club! For just $14.99 per month you will get access to his full A1 and A2 courses plus new materials as he creates them. You will go from knowing zero German to being able to have a short conversation in a short few weeks. Before you know it, you will be conversational in German on a variety of important topics, all while mastering German grammar.

What is a reflexive verb?

A reflexive verb is one that requires a reflexive pronoun. Oh, great. That was so helpful. I’m glad you bothered writing that sentence. Let me guess, a reflexive pronoun is one that is required by a reflexive verb. Many people try to define reflexive verbs and pronouns like this, but it doesn’t really help anyone to do it that way.

Think about the word “reflect”. What does it mean when something reflects another? It means that there is a mirror image of the first thing, which is represented by the second. Think of it like this. The subject of the sentence is the one doing something. That person or thing looks into the mirror (the verb) and sees its reflection (the reflexive pronoun) on the other side. Just like when you look in a mirror, there are small differences between the original pronoun and the reflective one. When you look in a mirror, your the image of you is reversed. When you use a reflective verb and pronoun, you simply have to use a different form of the pronoun.

Obviously, all of this means that there are verbs that require these weird little pronouns to go with them. In English they are pretty rare. You really don’t need them very often. In German, however, you come across them pretty regularly.

What are the German reflexive pronouns?

For the most part, the German reflexive pronouns look like the personal pronouns. If you have made it this far into the German language, you probably know what I mean. The only difference is that the third person singular (er, sie, es) and plural (sie) forms and the formal you (Sie) require the pronoun “sich”. As with the personal pronouns, the first and second person singular forms (ich & du) change to “mich” and “dich” in the accusative case and “mir” and “dir” in the dative case. The other pronouns stay the same for each case. More on the cases and why you need them both below, but before that, here are the personal pronouns next to the reflexive pronouns. Obviously there aren’t any reflexive pronouns in the nominative case, as the reflexive pronouns can’t be the subject of the sentence.

How to Use Reflexive Verbs and Pronouns

Once you know what verbs require these pronouns and what the pronouns are, you can start figuring out how to use them. When you learn to conjugate in German, you learn that the subject and verb must agree. Now that you are using the reflexive pronouns, you need to make sure that the subject matches the reflexive pronoun. Simple reflexive sentences use the accusative case for the pronoun. Sentences with another object besides the reflexive one require the use of the dative case for the reflexive pronoun. Here are a few examples to show you what I mean.

Ich beeile mich.
I am hurrying myself.

Ich wasche mir die Hände.
I am washing my hands.

Interessierst du dich für DC Comics?
Are you interested in DC Comics?

Kämm dir die Haare!
Comb your hair!

Notice in the second sentence in those pairs the dative pronouns “dir” and “mir” are used. This is because of the extra objects “die Hände” and “die Haare”. While most of the time this won’t matter, as the accusative reflexive pronouns are the same as the dative ones, it is an important distinction to make when you are starting out.

Reflexive Verbs Song

German Reflexive Song - Lied - Deutsch lernen

Reflexive Verbs Song Lyrics

Das ist, wie ich mir die Hände wasche. (3x)
Das ist, wie ich mir die Hände waschen. So früh jeden Tag.
Das ist wie ich mir das Gesicht wasche. (3x)
Das ist wie ich mir das Gesicht wasche. So früh jeden Tag.
Das ist wie ich mir die Zähne putze. (3x)
Das ist wie ich mir die Zähne putze. So früh jeden Tag.
Das ist wie ich mir die Kleidung anziehe. (3x)
Das ist wie ich mir die Kleidung anziehe. So früh jeden Tag.
Das ist wie ich mir die Haare kämme. (3x)
Das ist wie ich mir die Haare kämme. So früh jeden Tag.
Das ist wie ich in der Nase bohre. (3x)
Das ist wie ich in der Nase bohre. So früh jeden Tag.
Das ist wie ich mir das Gesicht rasiere.
Nah.

More Reflexive Pronouns & Verbs Lessons

This post is one of several about the reflexive pronouns and what normal teachers call the “reflexive verbs” in German. If you are ready to take the deep dive into the reflexive pronouns, take a look at all of the articles in this series about the reflexive forms in German.

If you are really wanting to put your German learning on track, consider joining Herr Antrim’s Deutschlerner Club! For just $14.99 per month you will get access to his full A1 and A2 courses plus new materials as he creates them. You will go from knowing zero German to being able to have a short conversation in a short few weeks. Before you know it, you will be conversational in German on a variety of important topics, all while mastering German grammar.

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