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Looking up "to marry", I've found these alternatives:

Sie hat ihn geheiratet.

Sie hat sich mit ihm verheiratet.

Dictionaries do not note the latter as archaic, but those I've spoken to say that "sich verheiraten" is never used. What's the difference in use?

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Maybe it's me, but "Sie hat sich mit ihm verheiratet." sounds strange. –  splattne May 30 '11 at 14:09
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@Tim not sure, maybe "Die beiden Eheleute haben sich verheiratet." - but still not good style. –  splattne May 30 '11 at 14:14
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@splattne: I'd rather classify it as archaic, even though dictionaries (as Tim said) don't. It's not really bad style though. –  OregonGhost May 30 '11 at 14:19
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Though, according to the Dude(n) ;-) it's correct: duden.de/rechtschreibung/verheiraten#Bedeutung1 –  splattne May 30 '11 at 14:24
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<sarcasm> Vielleicht ist ver- hier als pejoratives Präfix gedacht: "Verdammt, ich hab mich mir ihr total verheiratet!" </sarcasm> –  splattne May 30 '11 at 14:28
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5 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

While this may not exactly what you're looking for, in my company we say

Wir müssen noch diese Komponenten miteinander verheiraten.

meaning that we have to connect the components to each other.

Duden also has examples that the second form is often used figuratively:

〈in übertragener Bedeutung〉: (umgangssprachlich scherzhaft) er ist mit seinem Verein verheiratet (geht ganz darin auf, verbringt dort seine ganze Freizeit)

〈in übertragener Bedeutung〉: (umgangssprachlich scherzhaft) ich bin mit der Firma doch nicht verheiratet (ich kann sie jederzeit verlassen, bin nicht an sie gebunden)

Duden also quotes "〈oft im 2. Partizip〉: eine verheiratete Frau" as an example for "sich verheiraten". This is a form you'll see more often.

This form also has a second meaning:

Ihr Vater hat sie mit einem Bankier verheiratet.

(also from Duden)

This is, rather from the meaning than from the language, more archaic though. Or at least I hope it is.

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Interesting fiugrative use. I had heard of the "marry away" meaning of "verheiraten", and was wondering if "sich verheiraten" is actually used to mean "to marry oneself away (i.e. to marry)", as dict.cc suggests. –  Tim N May 30 '11 at 14:05
    
nice answer, but in your example you've changed the subject into the object of the clause: Sie hat sich verheiratet. vs. Ihr Vater hat sie verheiratet. –  splattne May 30 '11 at 14:08
    
@splattne: Yes, but I thought I'd mention it. It's also in the linked Duden entry about sich verheiraten as the second meaning of the word. Of course it's then rather jemanden verheiraten, but isn't sich verheiraten just a special (and much younger) case of that? :) –  OregonGhost May 30 '11 at 14:12
    
maybe it can be used when you're referring to both bride and groom: "Die Brautleute haben sich verheiratet" - in the sense of "einander da Jawort gegeben" –  splattne May 30 '11 at 14:19
    
@splattne: Yes, of course, though then I'd say "Die Brautleute haben sich miteinander verheiratet". But the other sense is still fine and correct. –  OregonGhost May 30 '11 at 14:26
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"verheiraten" is most often used after the fact - like "Bist du Single? Nein, ich bin ein verheirateter Mann." For the actual act of marriage, you would almost always use "heiraten". "Ich verheirate mich" sounds very formal, maybe even strange.

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While this is true, that's the adjective verheiratet. I was wondering about the reflexive verb sich verheiraten. –  Tim N Jun 2 '11 at 18:16
    
The verb is hardly ever used for a real marriage, but more often figuratively as in the "die Komponenten verheiraten" example. The reflexive form "sich verheiraten"... very unusual. –  ammoQ Jun 2 '11 at 18:22
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"Mit jemandem heiraten" is the original Germanic usage. Other "Germanic" (e.g. Scandinavian) languages use the equivalents.

"jemanden heiraten" is an Anglo-American type usage. Some Germans have adopted this, particularly after World War II.

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Very interesting. Do you have any references to back up your information? –  Samuel Herzog Jun 5 '11 at 3:44
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@samuel: Just personal experience, with people born before and after World War II. Plus assorted Scandinavians. Many "oldsters" of those languages complain that their "kids" are adopting too many Americanisms. BTW "kids" is apparently derived from the German "Kinder," not from "baby goats." –  Tom Au Jun 10 '11 at 20:36
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Sie hat ihn geheiratet.

Sie hat sich mit ihm verheiratet.

I would not use the second one and I have neither been able to construct an example where I would use it nor have I been able to find an example on google (outside of dictionaries).

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Humorous answer: Sie hat sich ver-heiratet in that she married the wrong man. Sie hat sich versprochen, als sie sich ihm versprochen hat.

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