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How would the meaning of the sentence below change if you use "man" instead of "sich"?

In der Presse wie auch im Fernsehen finden sich zunehmend Meldungen über die verheerenden Folgen des Spielens am Computer.

[Source Text: How to use "sich" ]

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The meaning would not change. The grammar would. In the original, Meldungen (über die verheerenden Folgen des Spielens am Computer) is the grammatical subject and sich indicates that the subject is a logical object, i.e. Meldungen... is what is being found by someone. This has been called mediopassive.

In der Presse wie auch im Fernsehen finden sich (obj.) zunehmend Meldungen über die verheerenden Folgen des Spielens am Computer (subj.).
In der Presse wie auch im Fernsehen findet man (subj.) zunehmend Meldungen über die verheerenden Folgen des Spielens am Computer (obj.).

As the explanation indicates, these sentences are synonymous. A comparable but simpler example would be:

Das (subj.) sagt sich (obj.) leicht.
Das (obj.) sagt man (subj.) leicht.

There may be a modal component involved.

(talking about a stain) Das wäscht sich aus. ≈ Das kann man auswaschen.

An active is not always possible:

Der Text liest sich unangenehm.
*Man kann den Text unangenehm lesen.

The adverbial unangenehm can refer to a quality of the text that makes it unpleasant only in the mediopassive, which is why the active is bad.

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  • Can you elaborate a bit on the last part (ie, when “man” isn’t possible and why that would be the case)? Also, the last two examples (and alternatives) are correct, right? Just different forms?
    – Aaron
    Mar 1 '19 at 21:39
  • I changed the last part and added a hypothesis on why an active is not always possible.
    – David Vogt
    Mar 2 '19 at 10:26
  • Puzzling, replace unangenehm with schlecht and the active sentence is really good.
    – Janka
    Mar 2 '19 at 10:51
  • I think the reason is that schlecht can modify lesen, whereas unangenehm can not. Even with schlecht, the meanings would be different: In the active, it could refer to, for instance, bad handwriting whereas in the middle construction, it refers to the content.
    – David Vogt
    Mar 2 '19 at 10:59

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