I have noticed some constructions with reflexive pronouns like

  • ich bin mir sicher,
  • ich war mir bewusst.

Why and when do we use reflexive pronouns with adjectives? Are there many adjectives like these that need accompanying reflexive pronouns?

1 Answer 1


It's not about the adjectives alone, but always about adjectives and verbs.

Ich lache mich kaputt.

I laugh my ass off.

People even see this as a separatable, reflexive verb of its own, sich kaputtlachen. The mich works as an intensifier, by using the same person both as subject and object.

For the copula sein, only a few of such adjectives exist.

Ich bin (mir) sicher, dass …

This one works with or without mir. Same as above, mir is an intensifier. Again, people sometimes see these two as verbs of their own, sicher sein and sich sicher sein.

Ich war mir bewusst, dass …

This one needs the mir.

(The only reason I can make up is people think it's the verb sich bewusst sein and don't like the verb bewusst sein because they want to keep this separated from the noun das Bewusstsein in their own Bewusstsein. More likely: as above with sich kaputtlachen, the intensifier is needed because Bewusstsein is a serious matter. But: I don't know!)

More odd ones with sein? You are welcome:

Sie sind sich/einander nicht grün.

They are not reconcilable.

It's all about verb+adjective:

Ich ärgere mich grün (und blau).

I am furious.

Yes, it's the color green. There aren't any other colors which work like this, it's a fixed expression.

  • Thank you very much. That was really helpful. Maybe the best way to cope with such constructions is to think of them as separate verbs like you have said and to learn them as such. And it is better to think of "mir" in my examples as an intensifier, otherwise it will not make sense.
    – user34137
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 7:26

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