Red' mit dem Rückspiegel

What is the meaning of this line? is it a phrase?

  • 1
    "Sprich mit dem Rückspiegel" would be a more concise phrase may be. Where did you get that from? It's not common. – πάντα ῥεῖ Aug 5 '18 at 10:59
  • from TV series Marie fängt Feuer – Milad Qasemi Aug 5 '18 at 11:02
  • 3
    Red is short for rede, 2nd person imperative singular. "Talk to the hand." – Janka Aug 5 '18 at 11:38
  • 3
    @MiladQasemi could you please edit your question and add the context from that TV series? – Arsak Aug 5 '18 at 12:19

In English it is:

Talk with the rearview mirror.

Which obviously is taken from a conversation inside a car between the driver and a person sitting in the back row. One of them doesn't want to talk with the other and ask this other person to talk with an object (in this case the mirror) instead.

The verb »reden« (to talk) has two imperative forms (the imperative form is also known as command form):


This is the command "talk!" in English.

Almost all German verbs have an imperative form that ends in -e, and most of them also have a second form without this ending -e. Verbs where the stem has an e that doesn't exist in the infinitive form, must keep the ending -e in their imperative form. Most other verbs can be used with or without this -e:

  • Verbs with an e in the stem, that is not in the infinte form:

    stem: rechen (Rechenheft, Rechenschieber)
    infinitive: rechnen (omitted e between ch and nen)
    imperative: rechne!

    stem: atem (Atemnot, Atemmaske)
    indikative: atmen (omitted e between at and men)
    imperative: atme!

  • Verbs that to not meet this criterion:

    stem: schlaf (Schlafmangel, Schlaftrunk)
    indikative: schlafen
    imperative: schlafe! schlaf!

    stem: rede (Redewettbewerb, Redefluss)
    indikative: reden
    imperative: rede! red!

But there are even more exotic cases (ask your teacher for further explanation):

stem: ess (Essstäbchen, Essverhalten)
indikative: essen
imperative: iss!

stem: wurf (Wurfgeschoss, Wurfparabel)
indicative: werfen
imperative: wirf!

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    I know what it means word by word "Talk with the rearview mirror", but it made no sense so I thought it was a German phrase or idiom but apparently it is not and I made a mistake but thank you anyway – Milad Qasemi Aug 5 '18 at 13:40
  • 2
    @MiladQasemi, if you understood the literal meaning then you should have said so in the question. – Carsten S Aug 5 '18 at 13:44
  • Yes, my mistake – Milad Qasemi Aug 5 '18 at 13:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.