Languages › German Using the German Dative Reflexive and Parts of the Body Share Flipboard Email Print Stígur Már Karlsson /Heimsmyndir / Getty Images German Vocabulary History & Culture Pronunciation & Conversation Grammar By Hyde Flippo German Expert Hyde Flippo taught the German language for 28 years at high school and college levels and published several books on the German language and culture. our editorial process Hyde Flippo Updated February 24, 2020 Here we examine the dative reflexive, and particularly how it's used with the vocabulary in this lesson. Since reflexive verb forms are used frequently in German and have very practical, everyday applications, you need to learn them. Note that only two pronouns (ich and du) show any difference from the accusative reflexive forms in the dative reflexive. But since those two pronouns are very often used in the dative reflexive, it is important to know them. Using the Dative Reflexive Nom. pronoun Accusative pronoun Dative pronoun ich mich (myself) mir (myself) du dich (yourself) dir (yourself) wir uns (ourselves) uns (ourselves) ihr euch (yourselves) euch (yourselves) er sie es sich (himself/herself/itself) sich (himself/herself/itself) Sie sie sich (yourself/themselves) sich (yourself/themselves) When talking about combing or washing your hair, washing your face or brushing your teeth in German, you use the dative reflexive forms shown above. German has two reflexive forms, accusative, and dative. If you just say, "I'm washing myself." (nothing specific) then you use the "normal" accusative reflexive: "Ich wasche mich." But if you are washing your hair, instead of expressing that as English would ("my hair" = "meine Haare"), German uses the reflexive: "Ich wasche mir die Haare." (lit., "I wash myself the hair." - no possessive "my") Look at the examples below and observe how the dative reflexive functions with different pronouns (du/dir, wir/uns, etc.). Using the Dative Reflexive in Sentences I'm washing my hands. Ich wasche mir die Hände. I'm combing my hair. Ich kämme mir die Haare. He's washing his hands. Er wäscht sich die Hände. Are you washing your hands? Wäscht du dir die Hände? We're brushing our teeth. Wir putzen uns die Zähne. I'm washing my face. Ich wasche mir das Gesicht. I'm washing myself. Are you washing yourself? Ich wasche mich.Wäscht du dich? I'm shaving (myself). He's shaving (himself). Ich rasiere mich.Er rasiert sich. I'm getting dressed. He's getting dressed. Ich ziehe mich an.Er zieht sich an. Reflexive sentences can be in any tense. Reflexive verbs are conjugated just like any other German verb. Here are a few examples: I washed my hands. (past) Ich habe mir die Hände gewaschen. I'll comb my hair. (future) Ich werde mir die Haare kämmen. Did you wash your hands? (past) Hast du dir die Hände gewaschen? Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Flippo, Hyde. "Using the German Dative Reflexive and Parts of the Body." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, thoughtco.com/parts-of-the-body-dative-reflexive-4077757. Flippo, Hyde. (2020, August 28). Using the German Dative Reflexive and Parts of the Body. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/parts-of-the-body-dative-reflexive-4077757 Flippo, Hyde. "Using the German Dative Reflexive and Parts of the Body." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/parts-of-the-body-dative-reflexive-4077757 (accessed June 15, 2021). copy citation How to Use German Dative Prepositions Frequently Used German Dative Verbs Parts of the Body German for Beginners Lesson How to Use the Conditional Tense in German Learn the 4 German Noun Cases How to Talk About the Weather in German How to Properly Say 'I'm Cold' in German The German Preposition 'Bei' The Many Meanings of the German Verb 'Lassen' Transitive and Intransitive Verbs in German Learn the Months, Seasons, Days, and Dates in German How to Write a Letter in German: Format and Language Avoid These German Prepositional Pitfalls How to Use the Subjunctive Past in German Saying 'to' in German - 'Nach' vs. 'Zu' Learning German "Give and Take" - "Geben, Nehmen"