Supposing we have the following sentence

Mit der Ersparnisse habe ich geschafft, ein Auto zu [s. zulegen] (With the economies I managed to take a car)

I would like to ask about the position of reflexive pronoun of the verb in infinitive [zulegen] inside the sentence. Would it be something like:

Mit der Ersparnisse habe ich geschafft, ein Auto mich zu zulegen

  • Nein, est is keine Frage. Meam culpa Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 19:59

1 Answer 1


Correct is:

Mit den Ersparnissen habe ich es geschafft, mir ein Auto zuzulegen.

die Ersparnisse

»Mit« needs an object that is in Dativ case (ask: »mit wem?«). And since you never have only one Ersparnis, you must use Plural. Dativ Plural of »die Ersparnis« is:

den Ersparnissen

See also Ersparnis in Wiktionary

etwas schaffen

The verb »etwas schaffen« (»to make/manage something«) is transitiv, so you always have to tell what you made. In this case, you describe what you managed to do in an subordinate clause, but a subordinate clause is not an object. So schaffen still needs an object that describes what you made, and in this case you use es (it in englisch):

ich schaffe es
ich habe es geschafft


The verb »zulegen« is reflexiv and transitiv, so it needs two objects. One is a Dativ-Objekt, that must be a personal pronoun, so it can be mir, dir, sich, uns or euch. Since we are talking about first person singular, it must be mir:

Ich lege mir etwas zu.

The other object tells what you take (the car), and this must be in Akkusativ case, which you did right.

Ich lege mir ein Auto zu.

The order of both objects is: 1. Dativ-Objekt (mir), 2. Akkusativ-Objekt (ein Auto). You use the same order in a subclause too.

  • one more question about this "es" we use with schaffen: is it an "es" like this we use when we refer to a whole sentence? Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 20:52
  • 1
    Das ist echt großzügig!
    – c.p.
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 21:35
  • @Hubert Schölnast : Thanks for your detailed answer, as always! Just to be sure, when you write that "the verb zulegen is reflexiv and transitiv", I understand that it is transitiv ONLY when it is reflexiv, right ? In other words, the other meanings of zulegen are nor reflexiv neither transitiv, correct ? Commented Jul 9 at 14:12
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    @SylvainGadenne: You need a mandatory dative reflexive pronoun that refers to the subject of the sentence and an accusative object that names the newly acquired thing when you use this word in the sense of buying something. There are other meanings of "zulegen" that were not the subject of the question. They require different constructions. Commented Jul 10 at 8:51
  • All clear, thanks very much! Commented Jul 11 at 7:52

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