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It is correct to say:

Es ist ihm peinlich.

Es ist peinlich für ihn.

Es ist schön für ihn.

Es ist gut für ihn.

Then why is it not correct to say the following?

* Es ist ihm schön.

* Es ist ihm gut.

  • The modifier was Hubert Schölnast, which you also saw under the last edited thing, which links to the edit history, where it is also mentioned. – Jan Nov 8 '16 at 14:06
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    I really can't see that on the Android app. It is fine anyway. – Aebe Nov 8 '16 at 14:09
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    @Aebe: Please do not write comments by editing the Question. Please delete that last paragraph from your Question and post it as a comment, or edit your question and re-write it in correct English or German in an understandable way. – Hubert Schölnast Nov 8 '16 at 14:25
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Dieser Vorfall ist mir peinlich.

Here we are talking about a feeling I have. I feel embarrassed and mortified. I feel this way because of this event, but the focus of the sentence is not on that event. It is on my feeling.

Compare with:

Dieser Vorfall ist peinlich für ihn.

Here we don't speak about my feelings. We speak about a property of the event. The event is embarrassing. Yes, it is embarrassing to me, but this is not the main expression of this sentence. The focus is on the event.


This sentence is wrong:

Dieser Vorfall ist mir schön.

This would express, that I have a feeling named »Schönheit«. But there is no such feeling. You can say »Ich fühle mich schön«, but this is very different. this means »I feel pretty«. And you can say »Ich habe schöne Gefühle«, but this is also different. It means: »I have nice feeings«. But »schön« is not a category of feelings that you can have about any event that happened to you.

But this works fine:

Dieser Vorfall ist schön für mich.

Now we don't talk about my feelings. We talk about a property of that event, like explained above.

What I've said about »schön« is also true for »gut«.


This sentences are ok, in all of them we are talking about the feelings of the I-person in the sentence:

Meine Ungeschicklichkeit ist mir unangenehm.
Dieses lange Warten ist mir unerträglich.
Dein Kuss war mir sehr angenehm.
Ich habe den Stab weggeworfen, er war mir lästig.
Lisa ist mir unsympathisch.
Angelika ist mir sympathisch.

Also this sentences are ok, in all of them we are talking about properties of events:

Der Unterricht war lehrreich für mich. (Also allowed: Der Unterricht war für mich lehrreich.)
Das Gespräch mit dir war interessant für mich.
Der Vortrag des Rektors war für mich uninteressant.
Dass ich im Lotto gewonnen habe ist schön für mich.
Die Bewegung im Freien ist gut für mich.

  • Great answer, but what about this (it's in the Delfin Lehrbuch): "Meine Eltern hatten einfach keinen Geschmack, das war mir klar." – user23568 Nov 9 '16 at 19:02
  • "Here we don't speak about my feelings." Ja, wir sprechen von seinen feelings. Meine/seine - die Person sollte nicht wechseln, nur das, worum es geht. – user unknown Feb 7 '17 at 2:01
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Adverbial phrases which describe an inner, not easily observeable state of someone go with a dative object who is the one who has that state. This is done to express you not necessarily share that view.

Die Angelegenheit ist ihm peinlich.

The issue is embarrassing to him.

Das war ihr unangenehm.

That was displeasing to her.


If you share the view, you can leave out the dative object.

Die Angelegenheit ist peinlich.

The issue is embarrassing.

Das war unangenehm.

That was displeasing.


If you want to express it's merely your own view, you have to use für + accusative object.

Die Angelegenheit ist für ihn peinlich.

The issue is embarrassing for him.

Das war unangenehm für sie.

That was displeasing for her.


If you want to express how someone thinks about someone or something which can be observed from outside, you have to use finden instead, which goes with an accusative object.

Er findet sie schön.

He thinks she is beautiful.

But this also works for self-findings as

Er findet sich schön.

He thinks he is beautiful. (while the mirror is breaking in two…)

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