I have this sentence in english Let's buy it (to us)!. In my workbook, translation of this sentence is following : Kaufen wir es uns!

My question is : Can I also use Kaufen wir es sich!? I have already visited this question, but that does not explain if I can freely switch sich and the pronoun in dative case

  • 2
    The more literal translation from Let's (let us) buy it, would be "lass es uns kaufen". Apr 1, 2020 at 15:19
  • Thanks for suggestion. Apr 1, 2020 at 15:39

2 Answers 2


The reflexive pronouns in German are (accusative/dative where they differ):

  • singular: mich/mir, dich/dir, sich
  • plural: uns, euch, sich

So "sich" is only used in the third person.

  • Ich kaufe mir ein Buch.
  • Du kaufst dir ein Buch.
  • Er kauft sich ein Buch.
  • Wir kaufen uns ein Buch.
  • Ihr kauft euch ein Buch.
  • Sie kaufen sich ein Buch.

And of course, you can also buy books for someone else: Du kaufst mir ein Buch. (Danke!)

  • So I can't say "Kauf sich etwas !" can I ? Apr 1, 2020 at 16:15
  • No, that would be "Kauf Dir etwas!"
    – Carsten S
    Apr 1, 2020 at 16:20
  • Thank you a lot ! Apr 1, 2020 at 16:22

No, this does not work.

It is tricky, because the infinitive form found in the dictionary

sich etwas kaufen

uses sich, but this has to be replaced by the appropriate personal pronoun, matching the earlier occurrence, which in the example case requires the plural uns. Sich is either singular or third person plural and would not match grammatically.

The full list is: ich/mir, du/dir, er-sie-es/sich, wir/uns, ihr/euch, sie/sich.

It is of course possible to buy something for somebody else, as in

Wir kaufen ihm/dir/mir etwas.

but as I understand this is not the scope of your question.

  • So, if I understand it right, I can say "Kauf sich etwas" but not "Kaufen wir sich etwas" ? Apr 1, 2020 at 15:39
  • 1
    To Cesar you might say "Kauf er sich etwas!", but otherwise the imperative sing. demands "dir": "Kauf dir was!" / "Kauft euch was!"
    – user41814
    Apr 1, 2020 at 16:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.