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Can I use both or there is some rule behind using this verbs separately?

Ich arbeite mit dem Computer

Ich bediene mich des Computers

Welche ist richtig?

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    They are both valid German sentences (the latter sounding slightly outdated), but they have different meanings. What do you want to say? – Raketenolli May 3 '19 at 15:18
  • @Raketenolli No, they have the same meaning. The second one is just very old fashioned. – jonathan.scholbach May 3 '19 at 16:32
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    @jonathan.scholbach Objection! Ich bediene mich des Computers (although totally old-fashioned indeed) can mean any possible use of a computer, e.g. for gaming. It is simply a form of saying I use a computer. Opposed to that, Ich arbeite mit dem Computer would be used for activities that are seen as deserving to be classified as "work". You could say Ich bediene mich des Computers zum Spielen (you would sound silly, but okay, why not), but you cannot say Ich arbeite mit dem Computer zum Spielen or whatever. – Christian Geiselmann May 5 '19 at 10:39
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Ich arbeite mit dem Computer.

I work with the computer.

Ich bediene den Computer.

I operate the computer.

Those two are common.

Ich bediene mich des Computers.

I avail myself of the computer.

This one is rather old-fashioned. You will find it nevertheless when police describes the instruments of a crime.

Die Täter brachen in den Markt ein und bedienten sich dazu eines zuvor auf einer nahen Baustelle entwendeten Radladers.

If you like to hear such stilted speech, watch the Aktenzeichen XY show of the German ZDF TV channel. Old or new episodes, it doesn't matter. The speaker uses that amtliche Sprache by purpose, it seems.

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  • I particularly like the purposefully odd temporal consecutiveness in the police report example. That's how they indeed often write. A more language-aware person would say: Die Täter brachen in den Markt ein. Sie bedienten sich dazu eines zuvor auf einer nahen Baustelle entwendeten Radladers. That's because the und in the original sentence suggests a chronological order which is contrafactual: the perpetrators doubtlessly first took the loader, then broke into the shop. – Christian Geiselmann May 5 '19 at 10:46

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