I know this is a bit contrived, but with literature about clones and time travel and parallel universes, this is bound to come up.

I traveled to 1995, and the I that I saw was not the I I remember being.

Feel free to be imaginive, and please let me know which definite articles sound right with "der ich".

  • Correct punctuation would help a lot, to make that English sentence more comprehensible. Jun 9, 2018 at 11:39
  • 2
    @πάνταῥεῖ, I assume you want to say that it would make the text easier to read for you if English used German punctuation.
    – Carsten S
    Jun 9, 2018 at 11:46
  • @Carsten No, correct English punctuation would be completely sufficient. Jun 9, 2018 at 11:55
  • @CarstenS Not my A-level force, but I believe it should be "I traveled to 1995, and the I that I saw, was not the I I remember being." Jun 9, 2018 at 11:56
  • 1
    Common grammar does not cover time travel well, but I believe it should say ...was not the I I remember having been.
    – tofro
    Jun 9, 2018 at 12:11

3 Answers 3


The correct definite article for 1st person singular as noun is das:

Ich reiste (zurück) nach 1995 und das Ich, das ich sah, war nicht das Ich, das ich mich erinnerte zu sein.

According to dict.cc (emphasis mine):

NOUN das Ich | die Ichs/Ich

Thus the English term the I clearly translates to the das Ich in German.

  • It is erinnern an, so an das ich mich erinnerte zu sein. or an das zu sein ich mich erinnerte. Jun 9, 2018 at 16:35
  • @rexkogitans Danke! Jun 9, 2018 at 16:37
  • 1
    "Das Ich" referes to the psychologigal "Ich" in the model of Sigmund Freud, who also coined the concept. Are you sure this "Ich" is the same as the one in teh example?
    – Beta
    Jun 9, 2018 at 17:08
  • 2
    @Beta. Freud did not coin "das ich". It was used by Fichte in the 18th century, and by others since.
    – fdb
    Jun 9, 2018 at 17:29
  • 2
    @πάνταῥεῖ's translation is correct.
    – fdb
    Jun 9, 2018 at 17:30

Very probably, you wouldn't use "Ich" in that subclause at all, but rather refer to yourself in third person:

Ich reiste zurück nach 1995 und erkannte, dass ich, der ich mich dort antraf, nicht der war, der ich glaubte, gewesen zu sein.

  • 2
    For the sake of clarity you might want to add that in your translation der is not the definite article of ich.
    – Arsak
    Jun 9, 2018 at 13:00
  • Could you use "die" in case you were female?
    – Beta
    Jun 9, 2018 at 17:10
  • @Beta Yes, you can.
    – tavkomann
    Jun 9, 2018 at 18:12

For the sake of simplification I wouldn't try to translate it verbatim too.

I traveled to 1995 and the I that I saw was not the I I remember being.

  • Ich reiste ins Jahr 1995, fand mich jedoch nicht so, wie ich mich aus dieser Zeit in Erinnerung habe.

  • Ich reiste ins Jahr 1995, erkannte mich aber nicht als den, den ich von damals in Erinnerung habe.

  • For sake of literal connotation trust, I'd avoid such wide interpretation, Also I don't really see a "sine qua non" with that construct. Jun 9, 2018 at 16:13

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