I had the following sentence:

Ich schreibe mir das Wort aus.

I was thinking this sentence meant

I'm writing the word out myself.

But I was thinking about the use of the pronoun "mir" which is dative.

Could the following sentence

Ich schreibe das Wort aus

give a similar meaning i.e.

Ich schreibe das Wort

so to say "I'm writing the word out."

Does that count?

  • It is always helpful to have some context to be able to tell why a certain construction was chosen.
    – Carsten S
    Mar 2, 2019 at 7:06
  • 2
    Not sure if you really want to express "ein Wort ausschreiben" as that means to write it completely (e.g., instead of using an abbreviation or not dying from a heart-attack in the middle of the act). Mar 2, 2019 at 7:23
  • 2
    Are you sure your sentence used "ausschreiben"? "Ich schreibe mir das auf" (I take note of this) is much more idiomatic.
    – tofro
    Mar 2, 2019 at 9:14

1 Answer 1


There are differences in meaning or focus. Let us start with the simple statement:

Ich schreibe das Wort aus.
→ I am writing the word out.

If you want to express, for whom you do it, you can use a personal pronoun, such as mir:

Ich schreibe mir das Wort aus.
→ I am writing the word out for me.

The english reflexive pronoun myself is typically translated to the german demonstrative pronouns selbst or selber. It is used to focus on the fact that you yourself did something, rather than someone else:

Ich schreibe das Wort selber aus.
→ I am writing the word out myself.

As an aside, note @Hagen von Eitzen's comment, where he asks if you really want to express that the word is written out completely, opposed to incompletely for whatever reason. Possibly, you rather wanted to say something like this?:

Ich schreibe das Wort auf.
→ I am writing the word down.

  • For the second example a reference to the term dativus commodi, see this answer or canoo.net may be useful.
    – guidot
    Mar 2, 2019 at 23:47

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