I understand that sich umziehen refers to changing clothes. I assume that "Ich umziehe mich" means "I change (clothes)" but "Ich umziehe" means "I move (house)".

If I wanted to say it explicitly, would it be "Ich umziehe mich die Kleidungen"? Also, is Kleidungen here accusative? Similarly, is it correct to say "Ich umziehe Wohnungen"? The latter seems fine but I'm not sure if the former is correct due to the reflexive mich.

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    As shown in the answer, but not explicitly mentioned, "(sich) umziehen" is a separable verb. "Ich umziehe (mich)" is incorrect, it should be "Ich ziehe (mich) um".
    – Em1
    Dec 8, 2014 at 8:20
  • 'Ich ziehe einen Pullover an' is also correct, because the reflexive 'mir' is implied.
    – marcw
    Dec 8, 2014 at 9:41
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    @marcw But that is 'anziehen', not 'umziehen'. 'anziehen' is not reflexive.
    – Sentry
    Dec 8, 2014 at 20:01
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    @Sentry "sich anziehen" is reflexive. But it's true that the sentence above uses the non-reflexive variant of "anziehen"
    – Em1
    Dec 9, 2014 at 13:36
  • @Em1 Yes, I was too unspecific, I meant the variant used in the example.
    – Sentry
    Dec 9, 2014 at 13:45

2 Answers 2



Your sentence "Ich ziehe meine Kleidungen um" is wrong. You either put clothes on or off, but umziehen can only be used reflexive without any object. "Ich ziehe mich um". Period.

Further elaboration

Ich ziehe mich um.

means that you change your clothes. You don't need to be more specific, this sentence is very clear.


Ich zieh mich an.
Ich zieh mich aus.

means to get dressed or undressed.

There's really no need to add the word clothes.
If you really want to phrase a sentence using clothes, you can use the literal translation for "I change my clothes", which is:

Ich wechsel meine Klamotten.

Not that common, though.

That being said, context is certainly important and the context is what makes clear what exactly you're changing. Clothes yes, for sure, but which clothes? Your entire outfit? Just the shirt? This information is usually given with the context:

  • Ich ziehe mich um und gehe schlafen. -> You put on your pajamas.
  • Ich ziehe mich um und dann können wir losgehen. -> You put on your party outfit.
  • Mir ist warm, ich ziehe mich um. -> You put on some clothes that are less warm.

That's again true for aus- and anziehen:

  • Ich ziehe mich an, dann können wir losgehen. -> You're currently wearing your pajamas, just underwear or you're even naked, and you'll put on your clothes to go out.
  • Ich ziehe mich aus und gehe ins Bett. -> You're getting undressed. You're getting ready for bed. Maybe you put on some pajamas, but that's not for sure.

If you want to tell what exactly you change, there are many possibilities. However, you can't use sich umziehen. Instead you take ausziehen and anziehen, which can be both reflexive and non-reflexive. That means, you can add (and this is pretty common indeed) the reflexive mir. But you can go without it or you can even apply any other dative object.

  • Ich ziehe meinem Kind einen wärmeren Pullover an.
  • Ich ziehe (mir) meinen Schlafanzug an.
  • Ich ziehe (mir) die Socken aus.
  • Ich ziehe meine Freundin aus.
  • Thank you, that's very clear. May I suggest you put your last sentence in the beginning for others who are reading? That really answers the essence of the question (i.e. the reflexive umziehen cannot be used with an object).
    – rnva
    Dec 8, 2014 at 18:11
  • According to Duden, the use is „sich umziehen“ or „jemanden umziehen“; thus, „umziehen“ can be used with an object: „ein Kind festlich umziehen“
    – user9551
    Dec 9, 2014 at 12:48
  • @Loong Probably they forgot to mark it as "landschaftlich", but I certainly do not consider that correct.
    – Em1
    Dec 9, 2014 at 13:33

You just simply say:

Ich ziehe mich um.

It is already understood that you are changing your clothes, but if you want to be more specific what you are putting on, you say:

Ich ziehe mir einen Pullover an.

For the unreflexive umziehen it means to move into a city or a country:

Ich ziehe um.

Ich ziehe im November nach Deutschland um.

If you are moving into a house or an apartment you say:

Ich ziehe morgen in ein großes Haus ein.

  • I understand the reflexive use when you write "Ich ziehe mich um". But in the second case, with the Pullover, is the reflexiveness contained in the "mir"? Would it be incorrect to write "Ich ziehe einen Pullover an"?
    – rnva
    Dec 8, 2014 at 9:09
  • That's also correct. Dec 8, 2014 at 10:16
  • @Navneeth Not exactly. The example "Ich ziehe mir einen Pullover an" is actually not a good example here. First off, it's not "umziehen" but "anziehen", a different word. Second, "mir" is not necessary. "Mich", however, is necessary. "Ich ziehe um" has a totally different meaning than "Ich ziehe mich um". In the sentence "Ich ziehe (mir) einen Pullover an", you can drop the dative object "mir". Or you add another object, like "ihm", "ihr" or a proper name.
    – Em1
    Dec 8, 2014 at 14:53
  • @Em1 just to clarify, I want to use Ich ziehe mich um but if I were to be more specific i.e I say "I change my clothes" instead of "I change", how would I say it? Is it "Ich ziehe meine Kleidungen um"? Kleidungen is akkusativ so in this case, where is the reflexiveness going? Or is it "Ich ziehe mich den Kleidungen um" where Kleidungen is dativ?
    – rnva
    Dec 8, 2014 at 16:44

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