In the sentence

Kunden dürfen sich auf einen neuen Service freuen.

What is the purpose of sich? Why is it used in addition to main subject Kunden?


"sich freuen auf X" == "to look forward to".

This is simply a phrasal verb, meaning that all three elements are necessary to express this particular meaning. Some phrasal verbs use the reflexive surface form, but there is no absolute general rule for what the reflexive element "means" - much in the same way that there's no good answer to the question what the "forward" in "to look forward to" means.

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  • Many reflexive verbs can be used as non-reflexives, and one might not always recognize the relationship between the two usages. One can say "das freut mich" or "das Geschenk freute den Opa" (= machte dem Opa Freude), transformed to an infinitive it would be "jemanden freuen". "Sich freuen", then, would be a normal reflexive derivation meaning "sich (selbst) Freude machen". I don't know how Germans see it in general, but for me the connection to "jn freuen" is sort of unobvious, for me like for @Kilian "sich freuen" is a different verb, like sich wundern, sich ärgern, sich erschrecken... – Ralf Joerres Feb 4 at 0:35

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