Ich sehe mir den Film an.

Can this sentence be,
»Ich sehe den Film an.« or
»Ich sehe den Film.«?

For one, I don't understand why there need a »mir«.
For two, I am not clear with »sehen« & »ansehen«.
Both of them have a meaning of »watch«. So, how should I choose them in different situation?


It does not need the pronoun (mandatory), it can have it (optional).

This is correct too:

Ich sehe den Film an.
I watch the movie.

But this is a little bit different (but also correct):

Ich sehe den Film.
I see the movie.

  • sehen = to see
  • ansehen = to watch

German has »echte reflexive Verben« (real reflexive verbs) which only can be used with a reflexive pronoun:

irren: Ich irre mich.
bücken: Ich bücke mich.
weigern: Ich weigere mich.
umsehen: Ich sehe mich um.

(there are more verbs in this category)

Another category is »unechte reflexive Verben« (unreal reflexive verbs). They can be used reflexive as well as non-reflexive:

waschen: Ich wasche mich. Ich wasche das Haar. Ich wasche mir das Haar. Ich wasche dich. treffen: Ich treffe mich mit dir. Ich treffe dich.
fragen: Ich frage mich, ob das stimmt. Ich frage meinen Lehrer, ob das stimmt.

The verbs »ansehen« and »anschauen« are »unechte reflexive Verben« like »waschen« (and they are also separable verbs).

schauen: Ich schaue mich an. Ich schaue den Film an. Ich schaue mir den Film an. Ich schaue dich an.

  • 1
    To emphasize what's IMHO the main difference, "sehen" and "ansehen" are two different verbs. "sehen" is generally "to see", while "ansehen" means more "to watch". "ansehen" is reflexive, so it needs a "sich", "mir" etc. You might say, "Ich sehe den Film" means "I see the movie" (as in "I see the DVD lying over there"), "Ich sehe den Film an" means "I watch the movie". Nov 7 '16 at 10:54
  • By the way, I have another question, @Hubert. Why you use this symbol "»" & "«" ? , if I may ask?
    – Echo Yang
    Nov 7 '16 at 15:22
  • @EchoYang: Because I like them better. And there's another reason: If you use the normal quotation sign (") in the heading of a question, it will automatically be converted into English typographic quotation signs. But this is wrong if you have a German heading. For quotation marks in different languages see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quotation_mark#Summary_table Nov 7 '16 at 15:32
  • @HenningKockerbeck I don't Believe "ansehen" necessarily is a reflexive verb. You might confuse this with a transitive verb, which has to have an object.
    – Beta
    Nov 8 '16 at 9:51
  • @Beta So "reflexive" isn't a subcategory of "transitive"? My understanding was that a transitive verb requires an object, with a reflexive verb that object has to "refer back" to the subject. Nov 8 '16 at 14:15

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