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How should I complete the following sentence:

Ich mochte nicht mit der Bahn fahren. Darum ---- ich mir ein Auto.

Is "mieten" the correct answer? If yes, why "mir"? Is it a reflexive verb?

I found this example for the verb:

Ich möchte gerne ein Auto mieten.

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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Mieten is completely fine, and you will usually use it without a reflexive pronoun (mir), because the usual sense of mieten is to rent something for your own use. You can insert the reflexive pronoun if you want to emphasize that you did rent the car for your own use, to satisfy your needs. The same is true for leihen — “ich habe das Buch ausgeliehen” just describes the act of borrowing (as opposed to buying/renting/stealing it), or the fact that you're not the book's owner (“ich habe es nur geliehen”). “Ich habe es mir ausgeliehen” means “I needed it, so I just took it, planning to return it after usage/as soon as possible”.

You can insert other verbs, too, depending on the focus of the sentence. In your case, mieten is the most neutral and correct choice. Other choices are:

  • leihen would imply that there was no obligation to pay for the car's usage (but often people don't distinguish between these two alternatives);
  • nehmen leaves open the legal details (payment) when used with an indefinite article (“einen Wagen nehmen”). Otherwise, with a definite article (“den Wagen nehmen”), it would usually imply that you used your own car: “Bist Du mit der Bahn gekommen?” — “Nein, ich habe den Wagen genommen”, but not vice versa: “Ich habe den Zug genommen” doesn't imply it was your train — you would use the definite article here anyway (selecting the definite vs. indefinite article is a problem on its own).
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"ich habe das Buch ausgeliehen" is ambiguous, it can also mean that you have lent this book to somebody: "Ich habe das Buch gerade nicht, ich habe es ausgeliehen". –  Jürgen A. Erhard Nov 2 '11 at 21:47
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The superflous reflexive use is the same as the English: "I got me a beer." vs. "I got a beer." –  Emanuel Mar 28 '12 at 8:49
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Because it's not on Ray's list, I must note that we primarily use dingen in Yiddish. Is that dialectic anywhere in German?

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Never heard dingen as a verb... But probably sich verdingen is derived from it :) –  OregonGhost Oct 24 '11 at 8:38
    
Does that mean "to rent" then? –  Marty Green Oct 24 '11 at 8:42
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"Darum dingen ich mir ein Auto."?? Does sound very wrong to me as a native and makes no sense. "Ich verdinge mich als Lehrer" means "i work as a teacher", so I dont think this has anything to do with each other. –  Flo Dec 15 '11 at 12:15
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"I rent myself out as a teacher". "I rent a car". It might not sound right in modern German, but that's the verb we use in Yiddish. If it sounds so wrong to you maybe it's because you've inserted the infinitive form directly into the blanks. Try the same thing with the verbs suggested by Tohuwawohu (leihen, mieten, nehmen) and you'll see they're just as wrong, or just as right. –  Marty Green Dec 15 '11 at 16:28
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I don't think there is a single "correct" answer. It could be...

  • lieh
  • klaute
  • kaufte
  • gönnte
  • verordnete
  • wünschte
  • erhoffte
  • erbat
  • ...

as well, depending on what the context of those sentences is...

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